SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 19 Salisbury University men's basketball team thwarted a second-half comeback attempt by St. Mary's College of Maryland to remain perfect on the season, and begin the Capital Athletic Conference slate with a win, topping the Seahawks 64-59.
Each team struggled early in the contest, with the Seahawks missing seven of their first eight free-throw attempts, while Salisbury (5-0, 1-0 CAC) was unsuccessful on its first eight shots from the floor, leaving St. Mary's (4-2, 0-1 CAC) ahead 5-2 more than five minutes into the contest.
But Salisbury got things on track with a 12-0 run, sparked by a jumper from senior Wyatt Smith and capped by a three-point play from junior Barry Bratten to grab a seven-point lead. Bratten came off the bench in the game, scoring a season-high 13 points.
Salisbury would hold the lead through the remainder of the first half, building the advantage to as much as 15, on a pair of free throws from senior Adrien Straughn with less than a minute to play in the period, and the Sea Gulls took a 33-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Seahawks moved things in their direction early in the second half, turning up the pressure and taking advantage of three Salisbury turnovers in the first three minutes of the second half to cut into the lead, and get their deficit down to 33-29 less than four minutes into the period.
Salisbury maintained the lead until a Tre Mouton layup tied the game at 35-35 with 12:49 showing on the clock.
The Mouton bucket was part of a 12-0 run by the Seahawks which gave the visitors their largest lead of the night at 41-35 with 11:19 left on a Delaszo Smith three-pointer.
From that point on, Salisbury pounded the ball inside to Smith, who scored 14 of the team's final 25 points to lead Salisbury to the victory. Smith tallied a game-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the floor while pulling down six rebounds and blocking a pair of shots.
A Smith free throw broke a 45-45 deadlock, with 6:43 left to play and the Sea Gulls would lead the rest of the night, pushing the edge back to nine on a Justin Witmer three-pointer. Another Smith bucket got it back to double figures, ahead 58-47, with three minutes to play and the Sea Gulls closed their scoring on a pair of Bratten free throws as the junior was good on all nine of his tries from the charity stripe in the game.
Salisbury returns to CAC action this Saturday, December 3, traveling to face Penn State University-Harrisburg. The game is scheduled to tip at 3 p.m.