Salk Stuns Nationally Ranked Caldwell Tech, 81-54


The USC Salkehatchie men’s basketball team defeated nationally ranked Caldwell Tech on Saturday afternoon, 81-54. Caldwell entered the game with a 21-game winning streak and ranked 18th in the country in the latest NJCAA Division I poll. South Carolina State Representative Robby Robbins served as the honorary coach of the game in front of a packed “Salk Palace” and helped lead the team to victory. The S.C. National Guard, first responders and the Colleton County NJROTC were also recognized during the game.

In the first half, USC Salkehatchie started hot with a 23-1 run. As the half progressed, Salkehatchie was able to maintain control, taking a 13-point lead into halftime, 43-30.

The second half was all Salkehatchie as the 14 freshmen extended their lead with strong play on both ends of the court and holding Caldwell to just 24 second-half points.

“Our win against Caldwell Tech was a culmination of the guy’s resiliency. The belief that we could beat them started when we went on the road to their place back in January,” Coach Matt Lynch said. “We were down by 17 at halftime at their place, but we were playing well. The guys had energy in the locker room, and we just talked about winning the first four minutes of the 2nd half. We came out and battled hard and eventually cut the lead all the way down to 6 with the ball. Ultimately, we just ran out of time to complete the comeback, but the feeling in the locker room after the game was that we just needed about two more minutes on the clock, and we would have done it. Fast forward to this game and the guys were just locked in from the jump. It was the best start that we had as a program, jumping out 23 to 1. We were up 13 at half and just talked about getting off to another great start in the 2nd half. We wanted to have a “swing first” mentality. The guys played incredibly hard and were able to hold the best offense in our league to just 54 total points (a new record low in “the palace”).

Caldwell entered the game leading Region 10 in scoring at 93 points per game. Salkehatchie was able to hold them to just 54 total points, a season low. Salk continues to lead Region 10 in defensive field goal percentage, holding teams to under 42% from the floor.

With tonight’s victory, Salkehatchie secured the 7th seed in the Region 10 tournament which begins on Thursday, March 14.

“We are definitely excited about the tournament, as we have secured the number seven seed. We will most likely face Brunswick or Wake Tech in the first round, and I know that the guys will be ready,” Lynch said. “One of the most underrated parts of coaching 14 freshmen is that they are often fearless. We have proven that we can beat anyone, as we are the only team to beat both the #1 team (Caldwell) and #2 team (Brunswick). I know the guys will be ready to go and leave it all out there. The goal from the start of the year was to get to Kansas (for the national tournament) and that vision is still very much alive!”

Lynch says he is enthusiastic about the future of the program.

“The first year is far from over, but I am definitely excited about the foundation that we’ve built thus far: team GPA of 3.3, over 50% of our team received Region 10 All-Academic Honors, and the most wins in The Salk Palace since 2016. Salk is a special place and we’ve got the right people in place to take this thing up a notch,” he said.

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