SALISBURY, Md. – With the Salisbury University men's basketball team down, 66-64, with 19 seconds remaining, Wesley College broke the Sea Gulls' press with a long pass that Paul Reynolds laid up and in for an insurance bucket as the Wolverines escaped with a 70-64 win in Capital Athletic Conference action at Maggs Physical Activities Center on Wednesday.
The win for Wesley (15-4, 5-1 CAC) is its 10th consecutive and moves it into sole possession of the top spot in the CAC standings. The loss for Salisbury (12-5, 3-1) is its first in the league and ends a three-game winning streak.
Sophomore Chris Viqueira led a group of three Sea Gulls in double figures with 18 points on 5-for-15 shooting, while Travon Vann and Trent Epps chipped in with 14 points apiece. Vann also had 12 rebounds and six assists for his fourth double-double of the season.
Epps tied the game for the first time since 2-2 at 64-64 with a driving layup with 2:11 left but Quincy Pettiford canned a pair of free throws 27 seconds later and Wesley held on. Salisbury cut the lead to one point three times in the second half but could not get over the hump. Vann made a layup with 13:14 left to shave it to a 46-45 game prior to a Wesley five-point run.
Tim Harwood hit a layup to get his team back within one at 56-55, with just under eight minutes to play, but Wesley again put distance between itself and SU.
Reynolds scored a game-high 20 points, pacing three Wolverines in double digits. Pettiford and David Langan tallied 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Wesley narrowly outshot Salisbury on the night, connecting on 26-of-56 shots (46.4 percent) while Salisbury was 24-for-52 (46.2 percent).
Salisbury jumped out to an 8-4 lead on the strength of a Viqueira three-pointer and Vann layup at the 15:35 mark of the first half. Wesley responded with a quick three by Pettiford to cut the SU lead to one before Reynolds hit a jumper to give the Wolverines the lead at 9-8 with 14:26 remaining in the first half, and Wesley would not trail again.
Wesley ran off the next nine points to open an 18-8 advantage when Reynolds knocked down a pair of free throws to close the run with 11:26 left. Reynolds then stripped a Salisbury player and hit a layup in transition for the Wolverines' largest lead at 26-14 with nine minutes to play.
The Sea Gulls cut into the edge with a 12-4 spurt over 5:24 to whittle the lead to 30-26 on a Kyle Savercool layup at the 3:36 mark, but Wesley went into the break with a 40-30 lead.
Salisbury travels to No. 14 St. Mary's (Md.) College on Saturday at 4 p.m.