BUENA VISTA, Va. - The Salisbury University men's basketball team opened the new year with its first win of 2015, defeating Southern Virginia University in Capital Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon 82-58.
The Sea Gull offense was on fire for the entire first half, shooting over 57 percent from the floor and from behind the three-point line, on the way to a 19-point halftime lead. For the game, Salisbury made 13 three-point shots, while shooting 54.5 percent (30-for-55) from the floor.
Junior Kyle Savercool got the game started with a three from the right wing for the initial lead, before junior Rocky Harris pushed the lead to four at 6-2 with a right-corner three on the Gulls' next possession; Harris hit four of SU's eight threes in the half, as he shot 7-for-11 from behind the arc for the game and tallied a game-high 23 points.
The Knights (1-8, 0-4 CAC) tied the game 6-6 and eventually took a 9-8 lead, but a three from junior Adrien Straughn from the left corner regained the lead for Salisbury, 11-9. Southern Virginia tied the score once more, 11-11, with 12:03 left in the half, but Harris answered with another long-distance make from the right corner to give SU the lead and spark a 25-7 run that lasted from the 11:48 mark until there was only 2:38 left before halftime.
The lead reached double digits after sophomore Justin Witmer netted four-straight points on a layup after driving left, before gathering a steal on Southern Virginia's following possession and putting down a one-handed dunk on the fast break. Harris followed Witmer's spurt with another three to make the score 21-11.
Salisbury's (6-5, 2-2 CAC) advantage got as large as 20 with 3:10 left in the half after junior Justin May scored a layup on a fast break after a steal, making the advantage 36-16.
Harris led the team with 14 points in the first half, as the Gulls took a 39-20 lead into halftime. Both teams pulled down 13 rebounds in the half, but Salisbury forced 12 Knight turnovers, while gathering six steals.
The Sea Gulls continued their offensive success in the opening minutes of the second half, pushing their lead to 27 points in the first five minutes.
Harris kicked the half off with a make from behind the arc, as he made three in the run that began the period for Salisbury.
After two free throws from sophomore Gordon Jeter, Harris drained his next two threes, and Witmer followed with another, as SU hit three-straight from long range; Savercool hit two free throws to reach the 27-point lead, 55-28.
Junior Wyatt Smith put down a dunk at the 12:24 mark of the second half, giving SU a 64-36 lead, as it reached its largest on the day at 28 points. SU's advantage never fell below 23 for the rest of the game, as the Gulls moved back to .500 in the CAC.
Witmer and junior Jacoy Gillum joined Harris, as three Sea Gulls to reach double figures in the game with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Jeter led the team with seven rebounds, while Savercool, Witmer and Straughn all notched three assists.
Salisbury returns to action on Wednesday, January 7, as the Gulls travel to University of Mary Washington with the opening tip set for 8 p.m., before SU returns home on Saturday, January 10 for its first home game of 2015 against York College of Pennsylvania at 4 p.m.