Marlins Hold Off Salisbury Late for Road Win
SALISBURY, Md. -- The Virginia Wesleyan University men's basketball team held off a late charge by Salisbury University to defeat the Sea Gulls 80-77 in non-conference action Tuesday.
The win was the first for the Marlins over Salisbury since the 2014-15 campaign, and the first road victory over SU in four years. Tuesday's win also snapped an 18-game home winning streak for Salisbury.
The Marlins set themselves up for victory with an impressive first half, taking a 34-30 lead into the locker room. Virginia Wesleyan shot 50% (11-22) from the field in the first half while holding the Sea Gulls to just nine made baskets in the opening frame as SU shot 28.1%. Corey White, Jr. had an impressive opening half with six points and seven rebounds as Devin Garrett had a career day off the bench with seven points and three boards prior to intermission.
Salisbury attempted to claw back into the contest the remainder of the half, cutting the lead to three on multiple occasions. A Blair Davis free throw at 8:19 made the score 56-53 in favor of the Marlins, but VWU reeled off a 6-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 62-53 lead with just over five minutes to play. Tim Fisher started the run with a layup, followed by two free throws and a layup from Barnette.
The Sea Gulls ended the Marlin run, but Virginia Wesleyan continued to find the showcase the ability to score when needed as Lamont Steward connected on a clutch jumper at the 4:07 mark to put the Marlins up 64-56. Salisbury quickly responded with a three-pointer by Chad Barcikowski to cut the lead to five. A free throw turned it into a four-point game.
Virginia Wesleyan managed to maintain its two-possession margin thanks to timely free throw shooting, making all four of its next attempts to ensure a lead into the final minute of action.
The Marlins led 70-62 with just a minute to play when Al Leder made a pair of free throws with 55 seconds to go to cut the lead back to six. Salisbury immediately fouled to put VWU on the line, but the Marlins missed both attempts to give the ball back to the Sea Gulls. Barcikowski raced down the court and knocked down a jumper from just inside the three-point line to cut the deficit to just four.
Salisbury fouled again, and once again, the Marlins missed both free throws. Steward made possibly the biggest play of the game after the second miss, fighting to pull down the offensive rebound. Instead of having a chance to use the crowd's energy to cut the lead to a single possession, the Sea Gulls were forced to foul Steward. The sophomore converted both at the line to put VWU back up by six, 72-66, with 43 seconds to play.
Leder connected on a three-pointer just five seconds later to cut the margin to three, making the Steward rebound and free throws even more important.
Keijon Honore was the recipient of the next SU foul, knocking down both free throws to go up 74-69. Salisbury got another quick three as Jack Ferguson knocked one down from the far wing with 23 seconds remaining to make it at two point game.
Honore went back to the line again, converting both once more. Following a missed three by Salisbury, Steward found the ball in his hands. The hosts fouled him, and once again, he made both of his attempts to put VWU up 78-72 with 10 seconds to play. Salisbury fouled Steward once again with two seconds remaining, and two more makes from the charity stripe put VWU up 80-74 to clinch the win.
Leder led Salisbury (2-1) with 16 points off the bench as Barcikowski tallied 15 points and six rebounds.
Steward went 8-for-10 at the free throw line while Honore made all 10 of his attempts for 10 points in the game. Steward led the Marlins with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. White, Jr. finished with 11 points and eight boards while Tyree Golston contributed 11 points. Garrett finished with eight points and six caroms off the bench.
Virginia Wesleyan (3-0) hosts The Apprentice School (0-4) on Monday for a 7 p.m. non-conference start.