DOVER, Del. - The Salisbury University men's basketball team clinched a home game in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament defeating Wesley College, 68-61, on Wednesday night.
The Wolverines opened with the first basket, but junior Wyatt Smith quickly answered for the Gulls with a layup to tie the game and begin a 13-6 stretch to give SU an early lead.
Senior Conor Strickland followed with a three-pointer, before junior Kyle Savercool entered the game and nailed two long-range shots to gain an 11-8 advantage. Junior Adrien Straughn capped the opening run with a jumper on SU's next possession after a steal by freshman Jordan Brooks.
The Sea Gulls continued to build on the lead, and with 8:30 left to go before halftime, junior Rocky Harris hit a jumper to give Salisbury its first double-digit lead, 23-12.
Wesley responded to cut SU's advantage to only three, but in the final 4:50 of the first half, the Gulls hit five-straight three-pointers to build the lead back up to 11.
Savercool hit the first, followed by Harris and sophomore Justin Witmer, and Strickland capped the stretch with two-consecutive long-distance shots. Smith added a free throw just before the end of the half, ending a 17-9 run in favor of the Gulls, to give the team a 40-29 lead at the break.
Savercool and Strickland both netted nine points in the first period to tie for the team lead, as the Sea Gulls were shooting 66.7 percent from the floor and from behind the arc. Salisbury was also leading the rebounding margin 16-12 and had dished out nine assists.
The second half played much closer, as Wesley opened the period with seven-straight points to cut Salisbury's lead to four, 40-36, but Savercool continued to stay hot from behind the arc, hitting a three to get the Gulls going and pushing the lead back to seven.
The Wolverines continued to battle, not allowing SU to build its advantage back to double digits and getting as close as a two points twice, but the Sea Gulls never relinquished the lead.
After having the lead cut to five at 47-42 with 12:04 to go, sophomore Gordon Jeter hit a layup and two free throws to increase the advantage to its largest of the second half at nine points, 51-42.
Wesley got the lead back down to three, but Smith got hot, scoring seven-straight SU points, including a three to give the Gulls a 58-53 lead with 5:34 left in the game; he scored 10 of his team-high 17 in the final eight minutes of the contest.
Salisbury scored the rest of its points on 10 free throws, converting all but two during the closing minutes to cap the win.
Savercool finished with 16 points, while Strickland also hit double figures with 11; Brooks led the team with four assists, while Smith led the way with 14 rebounds for a double-double, giving him one in each of the past three games.
The Sea Gulls return home for their next game and will celebrate Senior Day, as they will host Frostburg State University on Saturday, February 14 at Maggs Physical Activities Center; the opening tip is set for 3 p.m.