SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team battled back from a 19-point deficit against St. Mary's College of Maryland, grabbing a second-half lead, but fell to the Seahawks, 70-67, in Capital Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon.
The Seahawks (7-4, 3-1 CAC) began the contest on an early run to open up a 27-8 lead just over 10 minutes into the game as the Sea Gulls got good looks, but struggled from the floor. Salisbury started the game 3-for-12 from the floor, but would quickly chip into the deficit.
Senior Jacoy Gillum dropped a layup with 9:10 showing on the clock, sparking a 9-0 run with juniors Gordon Jeter and Justin Witmer each hitting layups during the stretch, cutting the lead back to 10 points.
After a jumper from St. Mary's Danny Canary, Salisbury scored four more, off another Gillum layup and two free throws from Jeter, dropping the deficit to eight points, 29-21, with four minutes to play in the first half.
The Seahawk lead hovered around 10 points for the remainder of the half, as St. Mary's led 37-26 at the break.
Salisbury (8-3, 1-3 CAC) turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, with senior guard Adrien Straughn leading the three-quarter court pressure. Straughn had three steals in the second half, but caused a number of others, as the Sea Gulls forced 15 St. Mary's turnovers in the closing 20 minutes, allowing the Gulls to close the gap.
A pair of steals by Straughn and one from senior Rocky Harris, who finished with five takeaways, allowed Salisbury to go on an 11-5 run to start the second half, capped by Witmer's three-pointer, getting the lead down to five points less than five minutes into the period.
The Seahawks held their advantage for the next nine minutes, but seven-straight points from Jeter and a pair of free throws from freshman Jack Ferguson cut the lead to one and set up Harris for the biggest bucket of the game to that point for Salisbury.
After a St. Mary's free throw, Straughn drove the lane and kicked the ball out to Harris in the right corner, where he buried a three-pointer from in front of the Salisbury bench for the first lead of the day, 56-55, with six minutes to play.
The Seahawks regained the lead, but the Sea Gulls did not go quietly, remaining within striking distance the rest of the game and had the final look to tie the game, down three points.
Straughn got a clean look on a three from the right wing, but the effort caromed away, and a hustle play by Harris for the offensive rebound allowed Witmer to get a contested look as the clock expired, but his try would not fall, giving the Seahawks the three-point win.
Jeter led the way for Salisbury with 21 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor, while Witmer was good for 16 points and four steals. Senior Kyle Savercool scored 10 points, going 10-for-11 from the free-throw line.
Delaszo Smith paced St. Mary's, scoring a game-high 23 points and was one of three Seahawks with seven rebounds.
The Sea Gulls return to action on Wednesday, January 6, hosting York College of Pennsylvania at Maggs Physical Activities Center, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.