Sailfish Make Their Presence Felt with Big Home Win Over Florida Tech
November 30, 2010
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- After a historic road victory last Friday evening with a win over NCAA Division I Stetson University, the casual fan may have suspected a let down of sorts by the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball on Tuesday as they welcomed in Florida Tech to the Rubin Arena. That would however not be the case as the Sailfish dominated the Panthers with their relentless effort and solid shooting as the Fish cruised to an 80-61 victory over FIT.
With only one loss to their credit through the first seven games and that being to NCAA Division I, University of Jacksonville, the Panthers (7-2) entered play on Tuesday with momentum and size on their side. The Sailfish (5-2) would stand tall themselves however as they built a second-half lead that would grow to as many as 22 points as PBA would eventually close out the 19 point victory.
Sailfish senior Jonathan Lawrence led the Fish scoring efforts on the night with 19 points on 8-of-13 from the field while adding in six assists, five rebounds, and four steals in 32 minutes of action.
Lawrence was one of four Sailfish to reach double-figures as he was joined by fellow senior David Wood who had 18 points including a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line in the second-half as well as sophomore guards Matt Roy and Dante Valentine who each finished with 14 and 12 points respectively. Roy finished 4-of-8 from long-range while Valentine continued to be a dangerous weapon off the bench for PBA with a perfect 2-of-2 from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Ian Sitz came through with tough play in the post as he added nine points, seven rebounds, and three blocks for the Sailfish cause.
The versatile Wood continues to show his all-around game of late as the sharp-shooter from Fort Lauderdale not only contributed solid scoring with 18 points on 4-of-11 shooting performance but also found ways to help his team in other areas as well with a team-high 10 rebounds for the double-double and chipping in five assists.
The Panthers were led by 6’9” swingman Justin Sedlak who led all scorers with 24 points while finding his way to the charity stripe a total of nine times. A long and athletic player from Serbia, Sedlak finished 9-of-15 from the floor while adding in eight rebounds and a block in 38 minutes of court time.
The most glaring statistic that would come from Tuesday night’s outcome were points off turnovers as PBA tallied 31 points off FIT’s 24 turnovers while Florida Tech would tally only five points off PBA’s season-low 13 turnovers.
Palm Beach Atlantic also did a solid job on FIT’s scoring point guard Simon Cummings, as the Port St. Lucie product managed just five points on 2-of-10 from the field including 1-of-6 from beyond the arc.
After an early scoring drought for both teams left the score 2-1 in favor of the Fish, a three-pointer from Sitz provided the Fish a 5-1 early advantage.
After a pair of Sedlak baskets sandwhiched around a Julius Reid trey left FIT with an 8-5 early lead, the Sailfish would go to work and seemingly never look back.
Valentine began the stretch for PBA with five straight points to put the Fish on top at 19-15 only to see Cummings fire right back with a three-pointer of his own to cut the Sailfish lead to only 19-18 with 8:37 to play in the half.
A 6-0 run for the Blue and White would follow however as a pair of Lawrence baskets on the fastbreak put PBA up by their largest margin of the game to that point. Wood nailed a free-throw late in the first-half to give PBA their largest lead of the opening stanza with a 37-22 lead before they would enter the lockeroom at halftime with a 37-26 advantage.
Florida Tech would do a solid job in the opening minutes of the second-half to close the gap as they would get as close as six points when Sedlak sank a free-throw to put the score at 50-44 with 11:21 to play.
After a Terry Primm timeout, the Fish would once again regain their composure and compile a 23-11 run over the next several minutes to extend their game-high lead of 22 points on an emphatic dunk by sophomore Schuyler Gray with 3:38 to go.
The rebounding totals came out to an even 38-38 for both teams while Palm Beach Atlantic finished with a team shooting percentage of 46% (29-63) while FIT was limited to 41% (24-59).
The Fish will have little time to rest and soak up their victory as they will take on another Sunshine State Conference foe in Rollins College on Thursday, December 2nd for their next outing. That ballgame is slated for 7 pm at the Rubin Arena.