BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University men's basketball team dropped its Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) opener in a 78-75 decision to Salisbury Saturday afternoon at Knight Arena.
Five Knights (1-15, 0-1 CAC) reached double figures in scoring with Sam Armstrong leading the way scoring a team-high 12 points. Off the bench, Kimball Cottam recorded a career-high ten rebounds to go along with his 11 points for his first double-double at Southern Virginia. Jamier Cross tallied 11 points and a career-high eight assists while Bennett Candland and Ricky Stafford each added 10 points. Gary Briddell led Salisbury (7-9, 1-0 CAC) with a game-high 19 points and four steals while Lucas Martin poured in 18.
The Sea Gulls jumped out to an early 13-4 lead after a Lucas Martin three-pointer with 15:44 remaining, but the Knights battled back after a trio of Stafford free-throws tied the game at 17-17 with 12:07 left in the half. Southern Virginia continued its newfound momentum to take its first lead on and Armstrong the following play. Jones then highlighted the Knights 20-4 run, scoring four straight points to lead 24-20 at 11:02.
Southern Virginia built its largest lead of the game up 36-24 on a Trey Dill layup with just under seven minutes left in the half. The Sea Gulls then answered with a 22-2 run to close out the half leading 46-38 lead at the break.
The Knights outshot the Sea Gulls 53.8 percent (14-for-26) to 42.9 percent (15-for-35) from the field and 46.2 percent (6-for-13) to 43.8 percent (7-for-16) from deep. Southern Virginia managed to assist on 12 of the 14 made field goals for the half. Trey Dill led the Knights with seven points while Briddell led Salisbury with 16 points.
In the second half, the Knights trailed the Sea Gulls 57-50 with 12:44 left after a Mike Ward three. Southern Virginia then went on a quick 7-0 run capped off by another Dill layup to tied the game 57-57 with 10:52 remaining.
Salisbury, over the next eight minutes, increased their lead to seven, 75-68, with 2:20 left. The Knights climbed back into the game on a 7-2 run to trail 77-75 with 30 seconds on the game clock. After a foul at 18 seconds, the Sea Gulls split their opportunity at the line making one of the two free-throw attempts giving the Knights a chance to tie down three (78-75) and send the game to overtime. Following a Southern Virginia timeout, the Knights inbounded the ball and managed to get off a shot attempt but came up short falling 78-75.
For the game, Southern Virginia outshot Salisbury 51.9 percent (28-for-54) to 35.7 percent (25-for-70) and 42.3 percent (11-for-26) to 36.1 percent (13-for-36) from behind the arc. The Knights also outscored the Sea Gulls 24-16 on points off turnovers and bench points 32-16.
The Knights will now prepare for a CAC matchup against Christopher Newport Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m.