RICHMOND, Va. - The Salisbury University men's basketball team closed out the Randolph-Macon Holiday Tournament on Tuesday evening, falling to Carroll (Wis.) University 57-47.
Salisbury took the first lead of the contest, as sophomore Gordon Jeter took the ball in the post and hit a layup on the right side.
The Pioneers answered with six-straight points, beginning a 13-3 run that put Carroll up by eight, 13-5, at the 13:29 mark of the first half.
Sophomore Justin Witmer hit a long-range shot from the left wing to get the Sea Gulls back to within five, and after two Carroll free throws, junior Wyatt Smith scored from the left post, and senior Conor Strickland drained a three from the right wing to cut the lead to only two, 15-13.
Carroll rebuilt its lead to eight with another 6-0 run, but with 6:25 left in the half, the Gulls used a layup from junior Ryan Miller to spark a stretch in their favor.
Smith drove left for another layup, before junior Rocky Harris got the rebound on his own miss, drove right, and made a layup through a foul; he hit the free throw to again cut the Pioneer lead, making the score 21-20 with just over a minute left in the half.
Each team netted one more basket in the final minute, as Carroll took a 23-22 lead into the break, as Smith tallied six points to lead Salisbury. At halftime, the Gulls were shooting over 40 percent and led the rebounding 17-13.
Coming out of the break, Salisbury continued to keep the score close. The Pioneers used a 5-2 run to rebuild a six-point lead in the opening moments of the second half, but Smith and junior Justin May both tallied layups, before Smith hit another on the right side of the post, after taking a pass near the basket. Following a foul shot, the Sea Gulls cut the lead to one, 32-31.
Salisbury kept Carroll's lead to five points or less over the next few minutes, before May drained a three to again get SU to within one with 8:06 left in the contest.
That is the closest that the Gulls would get through the rest of the game, as the Pioneers built the lead back up to six with five-straight points.
Down the stretch, the Pioneers hit eight free throws to help take the win.
Smith led the Gulls with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the game for a double-double, while junior Adrien Straughn led the Gulls with three assists.
Salisbury returns to action after the New Year, as the Gulls will travel to Southern Virginia University on Saturday, January 3 for Capital Athletic Conference action; the opening tip is set for 3 p.m.