SALISBURY, Md. – The No. 21 Salisbury University men's basketball team went to overtime on Wednesday night, falling to Penn State University-Harrisburg in Salisbury's first home Capital Athletic Conference tilt of the year, 66-63.
Junior Justin Witmer drained a three-pointer from the right wing on the first possession of the game, for the 3-0 Salisbury lead, but it would stand as the only points for either team until Penn State-Harrisburg's Anthony Morgan made a layup with a little over four minutes gone in the game.
Salisbury started 2-for-14 from the floor, with Witmer hitting another three to tie the game at 6-6, but the Lions (6-3, 2-1 CAC) would go on a 13-2 run to open up a 19-8 lead.
Sophomore Jordan Brooks would find senior Kyle Savercool on a backdoor cut with 3:39 left in the first half. Savercool made the layup and drew the foul, converting the three-point play to stop the Harrisburg run, and senior Justin May connected on a three-pointer on the next possession, before Gordon Jeter hit a pair of free throws to get the deficit quickly down to five points, 21-16, with less than three minutes to play in the half.
Harrisburg would find another spurt, getting the lead back to 11, but three-pointers by Savercool and senior Rocky Harris, his coming at the buzzer, dropped the separation down to 27-22 at the break.
The Sea Gulls (6-3, 1-2 CAC) started the second half with a 17-3 run, thanks in part to Savercool's three-pointer from the top of the key, his second of the day, tying the score at 27-27 less than two minutes into the half.
The Lions would retake the lead on Gbolahan Alliyu's three-point play, but the Harrisburg lead lasted just over a minute. Senior Adrien Straughn streaked down the middle of the lane for a contested layup at the 16:31 mark to give the Gulls the 31-30 lead, quickly growing to 39-30 on six free throws and a Witmer bucket.
Salisbury shot better than 80 percent from the free-throw line in the contest, making 21-of-26 tries.
After the first-half stuggles from the floor, Salisbury began to heat up in the second half, hitting six of the first eight field goals attempted in the second period allowing the Sea Gull advantage to reach 11 points, 48-37, with less than nine minutes to play in the game.
The Lions gradually chipped away, drawing even with less than a minute to play on Jourdon Wilson's layup in traffic which rolled around the rim before dropping, tying the game at 57-57, sending it to overtime.
Harris would get to the line to start the overtime period, hitting a pair for the 59-57 Salisbury lead, but two Lion free throws from Jazmon Harris squared the game again.
A layup from Anthony Morgan and another two free throws pushed the Lion lead to four points, and control remained with Harrisburg into the final minute of overtime.
With things looking grim for the Sea Gulls in a timeout with 36 seconds left, down two points, Jeter gave the team life. The Lions' Marquese Daniels attempted to inbound from near midcourt to Jazmon Harris in the backcourt. Jeter leaped to tip the pass and gathered it near the Salisbury bench. He cut to the basket and hit the layup for the tie.
But the Sea Gulls could not grab the lead, seeing a Jazmon Harris jumper return the lead to Harrisburg with less than three seconds showing on the clock and proving to be the difference in the game.
Jazmon Harris led all scorers with 22 points, while Morgan added 16.
Jeter led the way for the Sea Gulls, with 17 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks. Witmer scored 14 and Savercool added a dozen.
The Sea Gulls will not be in action again until December 20 and 21, when they travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they will take on Concordia University Wisconsin and College of Wooster.