Sailfish Snake Bitten; Moccasins Too Strong for Palm Beach Atlantic

Written By: Michael Brown, PBA Sports Information Director

Chris Joseph (Pictured) Eyes Up a Free-Throw in a Recent Game. Joseph Led All PBA Scorers on Saturday with 17 Points. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Chris Joseph (Pictured) Eyes Up a Free-Throw in a Recent Game. Joseph Led All PBA Scorers on Saturday with 17 Points. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

Box Score

LAKELAND, Fla.- Ranked #16 in the latest NCAA Division II national poll and now 16-2 on the season, the Florida Southern College men’s basketball team withstood a strong showing from their Palm Beach Atlantic University counterparts on Saturday evening however the Moccasins were able to pull away late as they improved their record to 12-0 on the season inside the friendly confines of the Jenkins Field House.

Palm Beach Atlantic (2-17) unfortunately could not keep up with their opponent from beyond the three-point arc on Saturday as Florida Southern (16-2) connected on 9-of-14 long-range shots while PBA managed just 2-of-14 from deep which ultimately made up the difference in score in the end.

Now in just his second game back after missing the previous three with an injury, PBA senior guard Chris Joseph proved himself fit to play as he led the Fish with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 at the charity stripe. No other PBA player tallied double-figures in scoring.

FSC saw a solid outing from point guard Rion Rayfield who connected on all four of his attempts from three-point range while also proving perfect (5-5) at the free-throw line while finishing with game-high honors of 19 points. Big man John Thompson added in 13 points, six rebounds, and two blocks.

Both teams shot a nearly an identical percentage with FSC getting the slight edge at 45.8% (22-48) while PBA was just percentage points behind with a 45.5% (22-55) mark. The rebounding battle was also quite close with FSC pulling down 33 boards compared to that of 31 for the Sailfish including 14 on the offensive end.

Both teams battled closely in the first-half with Florida Southern nursing a 40-33 lead going into the break. PBA would cut the lead to as close as six points on a Hunter Ross free-throw to open the second-half while also trimming the FSC advantage back to only seven points on a jumper later in the half by Joseph, however that would be as close as the Fish would get as the veteran-Moccasins would pull their lead back out to double-figures down the stretch.

Sailfish post-combo of David Gabriel and Trent Stokes combined to go a perfect 7-of-7 from the field with Gabriel adding in eight rebounds  on the night. Ross finished with eight points as did DeAndre Williams however both battled foul trouble during different portions of the contest. Senior Jonathan Lawrence dished out a game-high five assists to go with seven rebounds and six points.

After a grueling three-game road trip this week against the likes of Northwood University, Nova Southeastern, and tonight’s matchup with Florida Southern, the Fish will return home for their next outing on Wednesday, January 27th. Things don’t appear to be letting up for the Fish in terms of their schedule however as they welcome in the University of Tampa for a 7 p.m. square off.

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