By Daniel Whitehead
BUENA VISTA, Va.—Despite a strong effort in the second half to climb back into contention, the Southern Virginia University men's basketball team fell at home to No. 21 St. Mary's College of Maryland by an 84-49 score Saturday afternoon at Knight Sports Arena in Buena Vista, Va.
The Knights (3-6) were outscored in the opening half as the Seahawks (10-3, 5-1 CAC) built an insurmountable 48-18 lead by halftime after shooting nearly 60 percent from the field on 16-of-27 attempts. Southern Virginia shot 27 percent from the field in the first half on 6-of-22 shooting and could not draw closer as the Knights finished the game shooting 32 percent, including 23 percent (5-for-21) from three-point range.
On the defensive end, the Seahawks forced 19 turnovers and never allowed any rhythm for the Knight attack. St. Mary's also went 16-for-20 from the free-throw line to finish at 80 percent for the game.
"We couldn't do much right and they couldn't do much wrong," said Southern Virginia head coach Tony Caputo. "It was a first half we'd much rather forget about and move forward. You can't take anything from St. Mary's – they proved why they were an Elite 8 team last season at the national tournament."
Southern Virginia was led by junior guard Preston Eaton, who scored 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting that included two three-pointers. The Mapleton, Utah, native also had a team-high seven rebounds and two steals during the game.
Junior forward Wesley Evans contributed 11 points to the Knights' total, going 4-for-8 and logging five rebounds. Kenyatta Ruia earned six points during the game, while Michael Price and Chris Baker had five points apiece.
St. Mary's was led by Donn Hill, who finished with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field with two steals on the other end of the court. Troy Spurrier had 11 points, Brendan McFall earned 10 and Kyle Wise, Nick LaGuerre and Pat Ryan combined for 27 points.
Southern Virginia next competes Wednesday night on the road at league opponent Frostburg State. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. in Frostburg, Md.