January 8, 2014

#17 UMW Men's Basketball Scraps to 75-70 Win at Salisbury as Eagles Equal Best Start Ever

Sophomore John Yoxthimer scored 15 first half points, and all five starters reached double figures to lead the 17th-ranked University of Mary Washington men's basketball team to a 75-70 come-from-behind victory at Salisbury University on Wednesday night in Capital Athletic conference action. The Eagles stand as the lone unbeaten team in conference play at 5-0.

In a game the Eagles played far from their best, Salisbury led throughout much of the action. The Gulls led at halftime, 36-31, as Tim Harwood made 7-8 three point shots to propel the hosts. The Eagle offense struggled, missing layups and contested three pointers, but Yoxthimer made 7-8 shots with three 3-pointers to keep the Eagles in the contest.

Salisbury's stellar play continued into the second half, as the Gulls built an 11-point lead at 50-39 with 13:18 remaining. With the hosts ahead, 52-42 with 10:11 left, senior guard Dom Morra hit a big three to start an Eagle resurgence.

A three-point play from Taylor Johnson with 9:25 to go pulled the deficit to 52-48, and a Bradley Riester three with 8:52 remaining cut the deficit to one at 52-51. Another Riester three with 7:59 left gave UMW the lead at 54-52, and a Morra free throw moved the lead to 55-52 with 7:28 on the clock.

The Gulls tied the score at 57 with 6:50 left on a three pointer from Chris Viqueira, and Salisbury moved ahead with a layup with 6:06 left. Johnson tied the score with a layup, but the Gulls regained the lead at 61-59 with 5:19 remaining.

A pair of Morra free throws tied the score, and Riester hit a big three with 4:12 remaining to give a 64-61 advantage, but Salisbury cut the deficit to one at 66-65 with 3:17 to go. But then senior forward Dylan Farinet hit a pair of free throws and sank a big three pointer with 2:10 left to up the advantage to 71-67.

The Eagles struggled from the line down the stretch but made just enough to hold on for the five-point win, which improves the team to 11-1, tying the best start in program history, set by the 2002-03 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

"A hard fought win", said UMW head coach Rod Wood. "And that's our conference... Every team is good, not just the four teams in the top 25. We gutted one out, on the road, and that was due largely to our senior leadership."

Yoxthimer led UMW with 15 points, while Riester and Johnson each scored 13, with Morra, Dajon Daniel, and Farinet each scored 11. Farinet led with six rebounds. 

UMW shot 24-51 from the field (47.1%), making 9-23 three pointers, and went 18-31 from the charity stripe. Salisbury shot 50% (24-48), making 13-27 three pointers, and went 9-16 at the free throw line. UMW held a 31-29 rebounding advantage, and forced 18 SU turnovers while committing 11.

The Eagles (11-1, 5-0 CAC) will visit #16 Wesley College on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in another key CAC matchup.