SALISBURY, Md. - The Marymount University men's basketball team grinded out a strong non-conference victory on Wednesday night on the Eastern Shore, topping Salisbury University, 73-68, in the Maggs Physical Activities Center.
A 40-point first half for the Saints (3-1) paced the game, as they maintained a lead for the entire game except for the opening 30 seconds when the Sea Gulls (2-3) scored the first basket of the game. After that, MU built up as much as a 12-point advantage in the first half, carrying a 40-29 lead into the locker room.
The first-half intensity continued in the restart, adding seven-straight points to start the second half to reach the largest advantage of the game of 18 points at 47-29. Five of those seven points came from senior Taiga Walker on an and-one finish and two more free throws, while senior Ryan Albert added two more free throws.
The free-throw game for the Saints is what helped keep them in the lead the rest of the way, as Salisbury inched its way back into the game throughout the second half.
With less than 10 minutes left, back-to-back field goals by the Sea Gulls got them out of a double-digit deficit to just six points back. The stretch by SU and the intensity of the crowd was quickly silenced on the next time down the court when a missed attempt by senior Chauncey Pittman was pulled in and slammed through the hoop by senior Ibrahim Kamara.
With time ticking away on the Gulls, they made another run at the lead with an and-one finish to get within two and followed it with an opportunity to tie it with two free throws at the line with 3:37 remaining. However, both attempts clashed off the front of the rim, leaving the Saints to capitalize with four-straight points by Walker on a three pointer and the front end of two free throw attempts.
With roughly 1:30 left in the game, the Sea Gulls connected on another three-pointer to get within three, 68-65, but the Saints came through at the charity stripe to hold out for the victory. Down the stretch, MU went 5-for-8 at the line from Walker, sophomore Xavier Reaves and junior Steve Etienne.
For the game, the Saints shot 47.1 percent from the floor. Leading the way was Walker with a team-high 18 points, as he was joined by Reaves (16), Etienne (11) and Kamara (10) in double figures. Etienne posted a game-high eight rebounds, game-high three blocks and team-high four assists to go with his statistical line.
The Saints return home for a three-game stretch, welcoming Carnegie Mellon on Saturday, November 23 for another non-conference battle. Start time is set up for 3 p.m., following the women's basketball game against Messiah, in the Converse Family Fieldhouse.