SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball fell in Capital Athletic Conference action on Wednesday night at Maggs Physical Activities Center, 61-59 in overtime, to No. 6 Christopher Newport University.
Salisbury led for much of the game, after the Captains got the first basket of the night. The Sea Gulls hit their first three field goals, including a Gordon Jeter three-pointer from in front of the Christopher Newport bench, prompting the first Captain timeout of the game as Salisbury took a 7-2 lead just 1:43 into the game.
Jeter dominated the opening minutes of the game, scoring 10 of the team's first 14 points on his way to a career night.
The Sea Gull lead grew to 10 points just past the midway point of the opening half with senior Adrien Straughn driving into the lane, and taking some contact while hitting a layup for the 21-11 lead.
Salisbury (15-5, 8-5 CAC) came in with third-highest three-point percentage in the CAC and kept that going early making three of the team's first four tries from outside.
A three-pointer from senior Justin May, with seven and a half minutes left in the first, pushed the lead to the largest of the night for either team at 12 points, 24-12.
The Captains (19-1, 13-0 CAC) cut the lead to four at halftime, as Justin Hampton hit the three from the right corner which hit the back of the rim and bounced high in the air before falling through, making is 28-24 at the break.
The second half opened with a Christopher Newport bucket, cutting the lead to two, but Salisbury would not relinquish their advantage, with another Jeter three pushing the lead back to two possessions.
The game remained close, with the Sea Gulls maintaining a slight lead. Salisbury, the top defensive team in the CAC held Christopher Newport to 11 points over the first 13 minutes of the second half forcing six Captain turnovers in that time and holding the visitors to 5-of-19 shooting from the floor.
Salisbury extended the advantage back to eight points with just under seven minutes to play thanks to a 5-0 run, with Jeter scoring three, but five quick points from the Captains cut the edge back to three.
The presence of Tim Daly in the post kept the Captains close throughout the contest. The 6-foot-6 forward was a lot to handle in the middle, scoring a team-high 21 points off the bench. Daly's lay-in, off a feed from Rayshard Brown, got Christopher Newport within one point, 43-42, with four minutes to play.
The Captains were able to draw even three times in the closing three minutes, but could never take the lead.
Salisbury hit four free throws down the stretch, with Kyle Savercool hitting two to regain the lead with three minutes left and Jeter hitting two with less than two showing on the clock to break another tie.
Savercool had a strong second half at both ends of the floor, scoring five points, while pulling in five rebounds and blocking three shots, despite being one of a number of Sea Gulls dealing with foul trouble throughout the night in a physical contest.
The Captains were able to force overtime with an offensive rebound by Daly with a second left before he got fouled and knocked down both free throws to tie the game at 49-49.
Starting the extra period, sophomore Jordan Brooks drove down the middle of the lane, after a Justin Witmer offensive rebound held possession, making the layup and getting fouled for the three-point play. After a two at the other end by Brown, Brooks buried a triple from the right wing for a 55-51 lead.
Jeter's step-back jumper from 19 feet kept the Sea Gull offense rolling, for a four-point lead, but the Captains matched on a three-pointer from Kevin Regimbal, cutting the lead to 57-56.
The Salisbury lead hit three one more time, 59-56, on a pair of Jeter free throws with 1:20 left, but the Captains closed on a 5-0 run led by a Daly lay-up for the final of his 21 points.
Jeter scored a career-high 25 points while grabbing seven rebounds and notching two steals and a pair of blocks.
The Sea Gulls return to action on Saturday afternoon, hosting the University of Mary Washington in another CAC battle, beginning at 4 p.m.