FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team made it back-to-back wins in the Capital Athletic Conference, picking up an 81-70 victory at the University of Mary Washington on Saturday afternoon.
Junior Gordon Jeter led the way, scoring most of his team-high 19 points in the second half and pulling down 11 rebounds for the team's first double-double of the year and Jeter's eighth of his career, leading four players in double figure scoring.
The Sea Gulls (10-3, 3-3 CAC) missed their first three field-goal tries, allowing the Eagles (7-6, 3-3 CAC) to grab a 5-2 lead, but once Salisbury got going, sparked by a three-point play by junior Justin Witmer, the Gulls went on a 7-0 run to lead 9-5.
Rocky Harris hit Witmer with a pass underneath for the first bucket, with Witmer getting fouled, before Harris got two of his own on a crisp move to the basket, and Witmer hit an off-balance try in transition, following a Mary Washington turnover.
The lead would trade hands three times in the opening five minutes, but the Sea Gulls would pull away.
The Salisbury advantage reached 10 for the first time just over nine minutes into the game, when Jeter threw down a dunk, elevating over a Mary Washington defender, and a steal by Adrien Straughn turned into a bucket for Harris and the 22-12 lead, prompting a timeout from the Eagle bench.
A quick five points from Mary Washington resulted in a timeout from Salisbury Head Coach Andrew Sachs, but the Sea Gulls came out of the quick stoppage hot, going on a 6-0 run, which included a three-pointer from senior Justin May. It was one of eight threes for the Gulls in the contest.
The run made it an 11-point game, 30-19, for the largest lead of the first half for Salisbury, with 7:44 left in the opening period and the Gulls took a 38-30 lead into halftime, hitting nearly 50 percent of their shots from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
Straughn, off his career night on Wednesday, came out firing to start the second half, burying a three-pointer just seconds in, as the Salisbury lead held near five points before an 8-2 run pushed it back to 11 with 9:02 left in the game, 56-45, on a three from Witmer and five points for senior Kyle Savercool.
The Eagles would hang in the game, cutting the lead back to four points, 64-60, with 4:32 to play, but the Gulls would not wilt.
Harris buried a three after good ball movement and unselfish passing from the Gulls, to return the lead to seven points, and after an Eagle trip to the line, a pair of Jeter free throws gave the Gulls an eight-point edge with 2:20 to go.
A couple of Eagle free throws got the lead back to six, but that was as close as the home team would be in the final minutes with Jeter hitting a jumper in the paint with less than 90 seconds to play and the junior connected on two free-throw tries to help seal the win.
Jeter scored 16 of his 19 in the second half, as Salisbury made 12 of its final 13 free throws in the contest to lock up the league win.
Witmer was 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, including three three-pointers, for his 16 points to go with three rebounds and a pair of assists. Straughn had 15 points, four assists, and four steals while pulling down six boards, and Savercool finished with 11 points.
The Eagles saw T.J. Jones score a game-high 24 points while Mark Madison added 14.
Salisbury looks to make it three in a row on Wednesday, January 13, as the Sea Gulls head north to take on Wesley College. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.