Christopher Newport hands Salisbury first loss of season, 77-63

SALISBURY, Md. – Three players scored double figures led by a game-high 20 points from senior Trent Epps, but the Salisbury University men's basketball team took its first loss of the season, falling 77-63 to Christopher Newport University at Maggs Physical Activities Center on Tuesday.

Epps was 7-for-10 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Salisbury (3-1). Classmate Travon Vann added 17 points and two steals while another senior, Elijah Gore, chipped in with 12 points.

Christopher Newport (2-0) shot over 53 percent (16-for-30) in the first half to jump out to a 44-19 lead at the break and did not look back.

Epps hit a jump shot on the game's first possession to give SU its only lead. The Captains exploded for 22 of the next 25 points over 7:52 to take control. Five CNU players scored during the run.

The half ended with a three-pointer at the buzzer by Justin Watson, assisted by Mike Cherry.

Christopher Newport took its biggest lead of the game at 48-20 on an Evan Thorpe layup 30 seconds in the second half. But Salisbury made a run of its own to cut into the deficit.

Epps converted a three-point play, off an assist by Tim Harwood, to make it 48-23 with 18:47 remaining. SU later engineered a 14-0 run to get to within 49-37 with 13:50 left. Sophomore Chris Viqueira led the charge during the spurt with five points. Gore finished it off with a three-point play, which forced a Captains' timeout. CNU was able to regroup with an 11-0 run to put the game out of reach.

Cherry paced Christopher Newport with 19 points and seven boards, while Tra Benefield finished with 18 points, five rebounds and two blocks.

Salisbury outrebounded the Captains, 36-35, and outscored its bench, 23-18, for the game.

Salisbury heads to Washington, D.C., on Friday to face Gallaudet University in the opening game of the GU Holiday Tournament at 4 p.m.

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