CHESTERTOWN, Md. – The No. 5 Salisbury University men's basketball team got back to its winning ways on Monday night, opening 2017 with a 99-84 victory at Washington (Md.) College.
Senior Justin Witmer took control in the early moments of the game, scoring 10 points in the first five minutes of play, leading to a career night in which he scored 26 to lead all players and was one of four Sea Gulls to score in double figures.
Witmer's first 10 points – including a pair of three-pointers – allowed Salisbury to take a 12-7 lead with the Sea Gulls' other two points coming from a pair of Wyatt Smith free throws.
Smith's efforts from the charity stripe set off an 8-0 run, pushing Salisbury's lead to 16-7 with 14:36 left in the half, finished off on Barry Bratten's three-pointer.
The Shoremen (5-6) cut the lead down to two points, with 10:06 left in the opening half, but it was as close as the game would be the rest of the night, with Witmer hitting another of his three three-pointers less than 30 seconds later to push the lead back to five points, and sparking another Sea Gull run, this time a 9-2 spurt.
The advantage was 13 points at halftime, as Salisbury (9-2) held a 49-36 lead at the break, shooting 54.8 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes of play. The 49 points were the most in a half this season for the Sea Gulls.
The lead never dipped back into single digits in the second half, with Salisbury opening the second period on a 14-4 run to stretch its edge to 63-40 as senior Gordon Jeter put up nine of the points in the early run. Jeter scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half.
The Salisbury lead topped out at 32 points with 10:34 left in the game on a Witmer three-point play.
Freshman Alex McNaughton scored seven points in the final five minutes of the game for a career-high tally, while the Sea Gulls got 18 points and seven rebounds from Smith. Jeter also pulled down seven boards and Witmer dished out a career-high seven assists in the contest, as well. Junior Chad Barcikowski posted 18 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Salisbury dished out a season-high 22 assists with the Sea Gulls shooting just under 60 percent from the floor in the game on 35-of-59 shooting.
The Sea Gulls get back to Capital Athletic Conference play on Thursday night, January 5 traveling to the University of Mary Washington, for a contest that is scheduled to tipoff at 8 p.m.