PBA Claims Victory Over Assumption in Overtime at Jay McCormick Classic

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

Jonathan Lawrence (Pictured) Gave the Sailfish 16 Points and 8 Rebounds on Friday Evening Versus Assumption College. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Jonathan Lawrence (Pictured) Gave the Sailfish 16 Points and 8 Rebounds on Friday Evening Versus Assumption College. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- It took an extra five minutes of game time but the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team came up big when it mattered as they downed Assumption College on Friday night in the second game of the Jay McCormick Memorial Classic. Led by a true team effort, the Fish forced overtime with a late Clay Mbayi tip-in in regulation then utilized big free-throw shots late from sophomore Dante Valentine to seal the 77-69 victory at the Rubin Arena.

A large crowd gathered for the inaugural event that was put on by the Sailfish men’s basketball team to honor the late Jay McCormick, a former PBA men’s basketball player who lost a battle with cancer in 2008. A halftime ceremony was done to honor McCormick and his family with his #32 jersey officially retired, the first such honor for a former PBA student-athlete.

A back-and-forth contest from start to finish, the biggest lead of the game other than they final outcome was just seven points, held by Assumption early in the first-half.

The Greyhounds, who call the Northeast-10 Conference home, jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before PBA senior guard David Wood caught fire early with the next eight points to put the Sailfish back within striking distance.

An up-and-down first-half would witness a lead larger than five points as the two teams went into halftime tied at 33-33. AC shot 50% from the half while PBA was right behind at 46% as both teams turned the ball over 14 times each.

The second-half would also see each team match each other’s offensive runs with their own as PBA would build a lead of 45-41 on a Salim Fauras layup with 12:39 to play only to see a 6-0 Assumption run by forward Tim Beinert put the visiting Hounds back on top 47-45 with 10:44 to play.

The two teams would exchange leads right down to the wire as they entered the final three minutes of regulation tied at 63—63 after a layup by PBA’s Jonathan Lawrence.

Both teams struggled with free-throws down the stretch as it took a nice inside layup from Mike Baldarelli to put AC on top 65-63 with only 1:05 remaining. The tip-in by Mbyai came with just 40 ticks left after a few second-chance efforts by the Sailfish big-man. One last desperation shot by the Greyhounds would fall short and the game would go to OT.

Valentine got things rolling in the extra period with a three-point bomb to move ahead 68-65 while the visitors would then work to keep it close. A pair of free-throws from Ian Sitz gave PBA a six-point lead at 75-69 with only 20 seconds remaining as the Greyhounds last second comeback effort would fall short.

Wood led all PBA scorers behind his hot start with 21 points on 8-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Lawrence chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds while playing 40 minutes. Valentine’s big scoring late led the Spring Hill, Florida product to a 14 point effort off the bench.

Sitz came away with a number of tough rebounds in the second-half on his way to a eight points, 12 rebound performance.

The Greyhounds were paced by guard Baldarelli who had 17 points while Beinert added in 14 points and eight rebounds.

PBA will take on Florida Memorial University at approximately 7 pm on Saturday to close out the Jay McCormick Memorial Classic while Assumption takes on Eckerd College at 5 pm. EC downed FMU in game one of the classic on Friday evening.

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