Sailfish Men's Basketball Polishes Off Season-Opening Victory Over NMU

Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications

Dante Valentine (Right) Guards Northern Michigan's Raymont McElroy on Friday Night at the Rubin Arena. Valentine Finished with 18 Points. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Dante Valentine (Right) Guards Northern Michigan's Raymont McElroy on Friday Night at the Rubin Arena. Valentine Finished with 18 Points. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team opened their season in a big way on Friday evening as they downed Northern Michigan University 77-60 before an excited crowd at the Rubin Arena. The Fish shot over 50% from the field while forcing the Wildcats into 27 turnovers while three Sailfish guards registered at least 18 points in the victory.

Hosting the opening game of the Sailfish Classic, sponsored by the Holiday Inn-West Palm Beach Airport, the Sailfish (1-0) and Wildcats (0-1) welcomed a new season into play with some exciting up-and-down basketball from start to finish.

Trailing by one point at 27-26 with 4:50 remaining in the first-half, the Sailfish hit a hot streak that sparked a raucus crowd to erupt and lift the Sailfish into a big-lead into halftime. After a Raymont McElroy three-pointer found the bottom of the net for the Wildcats for a 27-26 NMU lead, the Sailfish responded with a 25-5 run to close out the half and go into the break with a 51-32 lead.

Leading by 19 points at half-time, the Sailfish would play in control for most of the second-half as they saw their lead grow to as many as 25 points when newcomer David Wood completed an old-fashion three-point play at the 6:18 mark to push the Blue and White on top by a 77-52 mark.

The lead would never dwindle below double-digits for the home team as they closed out the game and a 17-point victory for head coach Terry Primm and his squad.

Wood would lead all players in scoring on the night as the Fort Lauderdale native registered game-high honors of 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 8-of-12 from the free-throw line.

Senior Jonathan Lawrence and sophomore Dante Valentine also brought the crowd to their feet on numerous occasions on the night with 20 and 18 points respectively. Valentine connected on 3-of-7 long-range attempts while adding in eight rebounds and five steals in 32 minutes off the bench. Lawrence played 34 minutes while adding in five assists and eight boards to go with his 20 points including 3-of-4 from deep.

Newcomer Clay Mbayi played 32 minutes in the front-court and chipped in with seven points and eight rebounds before fouling out.

The Wildcats were led by big-man Jared Benson who came away with team-high honors of 12 points and seven rebounds while DeAndrew Taylor was the only other NMU player in double-figures with 10 points while finishing with six steals.

PBA won the rebounding battle on the night with a 37-32 lead while finishing with a 51.9% overall shooting mark and holding the visitors to a 42.3% tally.

The Fish will join the Palm Beach Atlantic women’s team on Tuesday, November 16th in a trip to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida for an approximate 7:30 pm tipoff versus the Tritons. The women’s team will tip-off at 5:30 pm.

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