Salisbury defeats top-ranked team
Sea Gulls force 24 turnovers, hold off late Marlin comeback
SALISBURY, Md. -- Salisbury picked up what is arguably the program's biggest regular-season win of all time on Tuesday night, taking down No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan 68-65.
The Sea Gulls (4-0) came to play against the top team in the nation, taking an eight-point lead, 13-5 in the first four minutes of action, forcing the Marlins to take an early timeout to slow things down.
With less than seven minutes to play in the first frame, senior Devin Posey cut off a Virginia Wesleyan pass and got the Gulls out in transition. Posey found junior Trent Epps running the floor and the center put home a ferocious dunk for a 22-18 lead.
Salisbury's defense held the Marlins (0-1) to six points over the last seven minutes of the first half, taking a 32-26 lead into the break. The Sea Gulls recorded nine steals and caused 16 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play, turning those Virginia Wesleyan miscues into 11 points.
The maroon and gold entered the second half showing no signs of letting up, taking a 44-35 lead at the 13:28 mark, after back-to-back 3-pointers by seniors Mike Atkins and Mike Maczko.
A strong defensive presence from the Sea Gulls allowed the lead to hover around 10 points until the three-minute mark when the Marlins began to chip away.
With under a minute to play, Virginia Wesleyan had closed the gap to three points 65-62 and a turnover by the Marlins gave Salisbury possession of the ball with 45 seconds to play. A foul by Donald Vaughn put Posey at the line with 20 seconds remaining, where he sank one-of-two attempts, giving Salisbury a four-point edge.
The Marlins would not go quietly and Chris Astorga made it a one-point game, 66-65 with 12 seconds to play, burying a 3-pointer. Sophomore Tim Harwood sank two free with nine seconds remaining and Virginia Wesleyan would scramble to get off a three-point attempt to tie the game, but could not get a good look, allowing Salisbury to collect its fourth consecutive win to open the season.
Salisbury shot 50 percent from the floor (20-of-40) while committing just 14 turnovers and causing 24 by the Marlins.
Atkins led the way statistically with 15 points while Harwood added a dozen and senior Jason Nwosu scored 11 points. Posey registered five steals for the Sea Gulls.
Vaughn scored 15 to lead the Marlins.