BY RICKY POLLITT
It’s becoming a frustrating occurrence for the Salisbury men’s basketball team who lost their third overtime game of the season to rival Christopher Newport Wednesday night at Maggs.
Leading at halftime, and deep into the second half, the Sea Gulls (15-5, 8-5 CAC) allowed the Captains (19-1, 13-0 CAC) to battle back and win 61-59 in a rematch of last season’s CAC Championship game.
Both teams entered with several weapons on offense, but it was the defenses that stole the spotlight. Salisbury recorded 41 rebounds, six steals and forced 13 turnovers, while CNU caused 17 turnovers and allowed only one Sea Gull to score in double-digits.
“It hurts, especially being up in the second half,” Sea Gulls head coach Andy Sachs said. “We just didn’t close it out.”
Christopher Newport, who was ranked sixth in national rankings, returned to Maggs for the first time since losing in the CAC Championship last season. After losing due to last second free throws in 2015, they were not about to let it happen again.
Junior forward Tim Daly, who scored 21 points and pulled down six rebounds went to the foul line with a chance to tie the game with one second remaining in regulation, eerily similar to the 2015 CAC Championship Game, when Salisbury beat CNU on a last second free throw in Maggs.
Even with a packed gymnasium, screaming to throw off Daly’s focus, the sophomore was able to hit both his foul shots and send the game to overtime.
After a 12-point overtime period, including a huge three-pointer from CNU junior guard Kevin Regimbal, the Captains were able to get revenge on the Gulls.
“That’s a pretty good offensive team,” Sachs said. “There’s three big stats you got to win, and that’s rebounding, turnovers and free throws. We won two of them, but 17 turnovers will kill you.”
One bright spot for the Gulls was the play from junior forward Gordon Jeter. The only Sea Gull to make it to double-digits, Jeter put up 25 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
“I told all my guys, play who you want to play and just take care of business,” Jeter said. “It was basically the same situation (as the CAC Championship game) just the other way around.”
The win gave CNU the regular season conference title, and keeps Salisbury at the No. 2 spot in the CAC.
Despite five conference losses, Sachs is confident his team has what it takes to finish the season strong, and get a chance to face CNU once again for the CAC title.
“This group plays hard, but we’ll be tested,” Sachs said. “Our players are good kids, they represent the school well, and we’ll move on from this.”