NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The No. 17 Salisbury University men's basketball team opened Capital Athletic Conference play on Wednesday night, falling at No. 21 Christopher Newport University, 71-60.
Senior Rocky Harris picked up where he left off last week, getting a steal on the Captains' first possession before junior Justin Witmer got the lay-in on the other end for the 2-0 lead. It was one of a game-high four steals for Harris on the night.
The basket started a 9-2 run for the Sea Gulls (5-1, 0-1 CAC) to open the contest over the first four minutes, with Harris getting a pair of steals, a defensive rebound, and knocking down a three-pointer during the early spurt.
The Captains (5-0, 2-0 CAC) cut the lead to 17-15 before a putback from senior Jacoy Gillum cut off the run and classmate Justin May made a cut down the lane for a basket that pushed the lead back to six points, 21-15.
Harris spotted up for three from the right corner with just under eight minutes to play in the first half, off a kick out from Adrien Straughn, to push the lead back to 24-19.
The Sea Gulls maintained the lead throughout the first half, with Christopher Newport cutting the lead to one possession on four occasions, but Salisbury had the answer each time, holding a 32-30 lead at halftime.
Out of the break, the teams traded three-pointers and junior Gordon Jeter scored in the paint and then scored on a three-point play in transition to build the Salisbury lead to 40-33 less than three minutes into the second half.
The Captains chipped away at the lead and Aaron McFarland's three-pointer with 14:30 left in the game pushed the lead down to two, and moments later Kevin Regimbal made a shot in the paint to tie the game, 40-40.
Marcus Carter converted a three-point play for the Captains at the 12:19 mark, to give CNU its first lead of the night, 43-40. It was an 11-0 run that gave the Captains the lead, but a three-pointer and a layup in transition, both by May, put the Sea Gulls up 45-44.
The game was tied at 46-46 before another Christopher Newport run, this time a 14-4 spurt, gave the Captains a 10-point lead with less than seven minutes to play in the game, the first double-figure advantage for either team.
The lead remained near double digits until a late burst by Salisbury, with a May three-pointer and two-point field goals by Witmer and Jeter, got the lead down to nine with less than a minute to play, but the Sea Gulls could draw no closer, taking their first loss of the season.
May led the way for Salisbury with 13 points, while Jeter and Witmer each finished with 10. Jeter also grabbed seven rebounds. Senior Kyle Savercool dished out a game-high five assists and Straughn added four.
The Sea Gulls return to action on Saturday, traveling to Frostburg State University for their second CAC game of the year. The opening tip against the Bobcats is scheduled for 3 p.m.