BY RICKY POLLITT
Coming off of a heartbreaking loss to St. Mary’s on Saturday, the Salisbury men’s basketball team slaughtered York College with a 75-56 victory Wednesday night at Maggs.
While York (6-6, 2-3 CAC) relied on the play from its top three scorers, the Sea Gulls (9-3, 2-3 CAC) spread the ball around and worked off quick passes, pressure defense and accurate shots.
Salisbury forced 24 turnovers and tallied 15 steals to give the Gulls their first home win since November 24.
“When we do the things we’re good at, we’re pretty good,” Sea Gulls’ head coach Andy Sachs said. “We’re still a work in progress and have a long way to go, but right now we’re 2-3 in (the CAC) and we have to climb back into it.”
Both defenses came into Wednesday ranked in the top 25 of the NCAA, but it was Salisbury that held York to 38 points in the first half, and ultimately 56 points in the game.
Senior guard Adrien Straughn continued to impress on both sides of the ball tallying five steals, three assists and 16 points.
“We just have to take it game-by-game and do the best that we can,” Straughn said. “Coach stressed playing hard, so we got to bring the energy and bring the pressure and we’ll get wins like this all the time.”
A key problem for Salisbury in the loss to St. Mary’s was the lack of three-point shots. After only recording five in their last game, the Gulls put up nine three-pointers and took a 20-point lead going into halftime.
Despite only scoring 15 points, junior forward Gordon Jeter was a force on defense with seven rebounds and four steals.
“We knew the St. Mary’s loss hurt, and we just had to come out and distinguish we’re not as complacent as we thought, so we had to change that image on the court,” Jeter said. “Give all you can and a little bit more, and it should put us on top.”
Salisbury finished with better numbers in all three categories including field goal, three-point and free throw percentage.
With the victory, Sachs admitted to feeling satisfied with the win, but realizes his team has a ways to go if they want to repeat as CAC Champions.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. I don’t want guys to second guess themselves with shots, but it starts with their effort, and the effort I saw is what I expect it to be,” Sachs said.
Even with a 9-3 record, Salisbury finds itself near the bottom of the CAC standings with a sub-500 conference record. With two big road matchups against conference opponents in the next two weeks, the Gulls will look to climb out of the hole they find themselves in.
“We have to have better focus when we start the game, but once we focus for a forty minute game I think we’ll be good,” Sachs said.