SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team battled back in the second half and closed strong to earn a 72-65 win against visiting Marymount (Va.) University on Wednesday night, closing out the first half of the Capital Athletic Conference schedule.
Early on, it was a struggle scoring for the Gulls (13-3, 6-3 CAC), who connected on just one of their first eight shots from the floor, a three-pointer from junior Justin Witmer from the top of the key. The lone bucket allowed the Saints (6-10, 3-6 CAC) to take an early 9-3 lead, but Salisbury turned up the heat with an 8-2 run.
Gordon Jeter took a feed from Witmer, for the first points of the run before senior Justin May connected on a three-pointer from the corner. Senior Kyle Savercool would also knock down a three, with 11:34 left in the opening half.
With the spurt, Salisbury tied the game, 11-11, but the contest would go back and forth for the remainder of the night.
The opening 20 minutes featured three lead changes, with the next coming with just over seven minutes showing on the clock. Senior Jacoy Gillum connected for two, cutting the Marymount lead to one, and Witmer drove in from the left wing, making an off-balance shot, for the 17-16 lead.
May followed with two of his own, but the Saints controlled the rest of the half, outscoring Salisbury 12-3 over the final six minutes of the first period.
Salisbury made only the three early three-pointers in the first half, attempting 15 in the first 20 minutes, but came out firing in the second half, with senior Rocky Harris draining a three-pointer from in front of the Salisbury bench on the opening possession of the period. The Sea Gulls attempted just nine threes in the second half, but made five.
Jeter made a nice move in the post to quickly cut the Marymount lead to one point, 28-27, a minute into the half.
The Saints built their edge back to 10 points, four minutes later, but Salisbury had another run in it, led by Savercool. Battling in the paint, the senior put up baskets in the paint on back-to-back possessions to trim the deficit to six before Jeter drained a three from the left wing for three of his game-high 21 points.
After Savercool hit a pair of free throws, cutting the Marymount lead to three, the Saint defense focused on the senior and he was able to kick it out to May for a wide-open three in the corner, which he buried, tying the game at 44-44.
Moments later, Witmer got his own look at an open three, in the opposite corner, and it resulted in the first Salisbury lead of the half, 47-46, with 10:57 left in the contest.
Salisbury held control from there with strong defensive pressure, led by May, who finished with four steals in the game. He earned two steals in a matter of just 13 seconds, leading to easy points for himself and Jeter as the Sea Gull lead built to five with just under nine minutes to play.
Salisbury forced 19 Marymount turnovers in the game, leading to 28 Sea Gull points.
Marymount would grab the lead just one more time, which lasted for only 23 seconds, as Jeter hit in the paint to make it 57-56.
Salisbury maintained its lead for the remainder of the night, but was never more than five points ahead until the closing seconds of the game when Adrien Straughn connected on a pair of free throws to seal the win.
Salisbury had four players finish in double figures, with Jeter grabbing a game-high seven rebounds to go with his 21 points. Witmer finished with 13 points, while May had 12 off the bench and Savercool scored 11. Savercool and Jeter each had four assists in the game.
D'Ondre Stockman paced the Saints' four players in double figures, scoring a team-high 19, while Rick Narcisse added 18.
The Sea Gulls are next scheduled to play on Saturday, January 23, heading to Penn State University-Harrisburg for the start of the second half of the CAC schedule. Tip off is set for 3 p.m.