December 17, 2012

Salisbury pulls off second straight upset of No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan, winning 76-67 on road

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – For the second consecutive season, the Salisbury University men's basketball team defeated No. 1-ranked Virginia Wesleyan College, this time on the road, sending shockwaves across the NCAA Division III basketball landscape with a 76-67 victory at the Batten Center on Monday.

The backcourt tandem of senior Travon Vann and junior Tim Harwood tallied 21 points apiece and sophomore guard Chris Viqueira chipped in with 13 off the bench as Salisbury (9-1), which earned 27 points in this week's D3hoops.com top 25 poll, won its sixth straight game.

Vann, who missed the last two games, also recorded four rebounds, two assists and a steal, while Harwood finished with six boards, three assists and a steal.

The Sea Gulls, who shot 44 percent (27-for-61) from the floor, 35 percent from three-point range (6-of-17) and 84 percent (16-for-19) from the free-throw line, never trailed.

Virginia Wesleyan (7-1) closed to within 50-46 with 13:16 to play when Greg Montgomery hit a layup before Salisbury embarked on a 12-7 run over 5:51 to retake control. Harwood started it with a three-point play and SU's first five points in the stretch.

The Marlins would not go away, though. Chris Astorga's layup again cut the Salisbury lead to four at 64-60 with 3:51 left, but that was as close as the host got. Vann and Harwood put the game away, hitting all 10 of their free throws down the stretch, while Vann put an exclamation point on the win in the final second with a two-handed dunk.

Astorga scored a game-high 27 points on 8-for-15 shooting with seven rebounds and one assist to lead Virginia Wesleyan.

Salisbury jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the game's first 2:38, led by four points each from Vann and Epps. Art Crew hit a jumper on an assist from D.J. Woodmere with 15:16 to play but Elijah Gore found Viqueira, who answered with a three-pointer on the next trip, for a 13-4 Salisbury advantage.

The lead grew to 10 when Trent Epps dropped a jumper in the paint to make it a 17-7 edge with 12:40 left in the half.

Cameron Owens' three and a jump shot by from Chris Teasley quickly cut the SU lead to 17-12 with 10:47 remaining but Gore knocked down a three-pointer of his own from Vann to restore a 20-12 lead on the ensuing possession.

A pair of free throws by Colby Heard worked the Salisbury lead to 35-31 with three minutes left in the half although the Gulls carried a 39-34 lead into the break.

The six-game winning streak is the program's longest since the start of the 2000-01 season. The Gulls will look to make it seven straight, a feat which has not been accomplished since the 1999-2000 season, Wednesday at Randolph-Macon College; that game will tip-off at 7 p.m.

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