SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team had won its previous three games entering Saturday's home contest against Southern Virginia University, and the Gulls had done it with strong opening runs to take control.
Saturday was no different as Salisbury (12-3, 5-3 CAC) used a 17-2 run to start the game, and rolled to a 67-52 Capital Athletic Conference victory.
Senior Rocky Harris drained a three-pointer from the right side and Straughn hit a pair of free throws for the quick 7-2 Sea Gull advantage.
Witmer connected on a three-pointer from the right corner as the shot clock expired and Straughn came up with one of his game-high five steals and went the distance for a layup and a 12-2 lead with just over four minutes gone in the game, prompting the first Southern Virginia timeout of the day.
Junior Gordon Jeter got a putback out of the timeout and the lead grew two possessions later when Straughn drained a three from the right wing in transition, taking the feed from Jeter. The Knights got their second basket of the day with just over 13 minutes showing on the clock, ending Salisbury's game-opening run, making it 17-4.
The remainder of the half played in the Sea Gulls' favor, with Salisbury opening the lead to as many as 22 in the opening 20 minutes when Jeter knocked down a jumper with 7:06 left in the period for the 29-7 lead.
Senior Kyle Savercool was good on two three-pointers in the first half, including one with just under three minutes to play in the half, leading to a 40-24 advantage at the break. Salisbury hit 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) of its three-pointers in the first half.
Southern Virginia guard Kevin Walker accounted for two-thirds of the Knights' points at halftime, going 4-for-5 from outside for 16 points.
The three-point shooting kept up in the second half for the Gulls when Harris hit one from the top of the key on the second possession off a pass from Jeter. And Harris returned the favor the next time down the court, setting up Jeter for a triple from the top of the key and the lead was quickly back to 20 points.
The advantage held near 20 points throughout the second half, with the Knights cutting the lead down to 17 on two occasions with less than 10 minutes to play, but could get no closer until a David Baety layup with 29 seconds showing on the clock, got the game to its final margin of 15 points.
Salisbury controlled the final period with limited Knights' second chances, owning a 36-33 edge on the glass, with senior Jacoy Gillum leading the way with eight rebounds to go with three points and a four blocks.
Jeter scored 14 points in the game to lead Salisbury's efforts, going with six rebounds and a team-high-tying three assists. Straughn had 13 points and six rebounds, while Savercool and Witmer each scored 11 with Savercool grabbing seven rebounds.
Walker was held to two points in the second half and led the Knights (5-10, 4-4 CAC) with 18 points while Cale Thornton had 11 off the bench.
The Sea Gulls return to action this Wednesday, January 20, hosting Marymount (Va.) University at Maggs Physical Activities Center. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.