Sea Gulls clinch CAC first-round bye with 85-77 win over York

Sea Gulls clinch CAC first-round bye with 85-77 win over York

YORK, Pa. - The Salisbury University men's basketball team secured the No. 2 seed in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament with its 14th CAC victory of the year to close out the regular-season, 85-77, over York College of Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon in double overtime.

Tied 72-72 after the end of the first overtime period, junior Adrien Straughn gave the Gulls their final lead with a three from the right wing on SU's first possession of the period. The lead put the Spartans away for good, after York had come back to tie the game with a 6-0 run to end the second half and a 5-0 run to end the first overtime.

Senior Conor Strickland followed with a floater in the middle of the lane, and junior Wyatt Smith converted a layup for a six-point cushion with 2:04 remaining.

Strickland added four free throws down the stretch, while Straughn knocked in two more to cap the victory and only allow York to get a close as four points the rest of the way.

York opened the scoring for the game with a three, but Salisbury quickly responded with 12-straight points, as sophomore Justin Witmer got hot early, going three-for-three from behind the arc to lead the run and capping the stretch with a three from the left corner.

The Gulls pushed the lead to double digits, 16-6, after Smith scored on a layup from the right block, before hitting two free throws.

The Spartans cut the lead to six, but Witmer continued his big half, draining a left-corner three, followed by another from long range from the right wing to push the advantage back to 10, 24-14 with 9:01 left in the first half.

Leading 27-18 after a three from Strickland, SU saw York fight back and cut the advantage to only two with a 7-0 run. The Spartans got to within one point twice, including 31-30 with 2:14 to go, but Witmer again answered with a right-wing three.

Sophomore Gordon Jeter gathered a loose ball around the rim and converted a layup on the right side to give SU a 36-30 lead at halftime. Witmer scored 18 points in the first half on six-of-seven shooting from long range; the Gulls shot 61.9 percent from the floor and 58.3 percent from three in the period.

Junior Rocky Harris hit the Sea Gulls' first basket of the second half, a left-wing three for a 39-32 lead, but the Spartans answered to cut the advantage to 42-39.

The teams continued to battle back-and-forth, with Salisbury's largest lead getting to eight. York took a one-point lead with 6:31 left, but Straughn came right back down to retake the lead for the Sea Gulls with a three from the left wing.

The Gulls pushed the lead back to six, 63-57, but York forced extra time with a 6-0 spurt to end the second half.

After the Spartans took the first lead in overtime, SU went on a 6-0 run, powered by layups from Smith and Witmer, to take a 72-67 lead with 56 seconds left, but York would tie the game once more to force the second overtime, before Salisbury would go on for the victory.

Witmer finished the game with 23 points to lead the way, while tying the program record with seven three-pointers. Smith and Strickland chipped in with 17 and 16, respectively. Junior Jacoy Gillum led the team with six rebounds, while junior Kyle Savercool dished out a team-best five assists.

The Sea Gulls will now host a CAC tournament semifinal contest on Thursday, February 26, after earning a first-round bye as the second seed. Salisbury will take on the winner of a first-round game, with the first round set for Tuesday, February 24; the game time and opponent are to be determined

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