Northwood Fights Off Sailfish in Palm Beach Country Clash

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Taking part in a matchup of West Palm Beach rivals, the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team made the short journey across town on Monday evening to square off against Northwood University on the hardwood. Despite their best efforts and cutting the game close, PBA was unable to topple the high-powered Seahawks in their own building.

Now 13-3 on the season, Northwood utilized a variety of different offensive styles on their way to a 65-53 victory over the Sailfish. Consistently ranked in the top-25 of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) division II polls, the Seahawks got revenge against the Fish after being narrowly defeated last season on a last second shot that propelled the blue and white to victory.

Despite being undersized and outmanned, the Sailfish never gave up and pushed the Seahawks hard throughout. Northwood is led by legendary head coach Rollie Massamino, an NCAA veteran coach from the Division I ranks who won the NCAA National Championship in 1985 during his time at the helm of Big East powerhouse Villanova.

PBA junior Manny Lopez followed up his most recent outing against Rollins College (26 points, 13 rebounds) with yet another impressive stat line of 22 points and 11 rebounds. The San Juan, Puerto Rico native connected on 8-of-16 shots from the field while also chipping in 5-of-7 from the charity stripe.

Fellow junior David Powell (Hollywood, Fla.) earned the starting nod against the Seahawks and responded with 16 points while hitting numerous big shots from beyond the arc to keep the game close. Powell also registered a season-high seven rebounds while earning 34 minutes of court time.

The first-half of action featured numerous offensive runs by both teams with Northwood entering their lockeroom holding to a 41-27 advantage. The Hawks blistered the nets in the opening half for 54.8% (17-31) while connecting on 5-of-10 shots from three-point range.

DeSean White, a sophomore transfer from Providence University and in his first season for the Seahawks, was held in check for a large part of the evening and consistently found himself on the sideline with foul trouble. Averaging over 19 points per game entering tonight’s action, PBA held the 6’8” forward to only 12 points while limiting his court time to 26 minutes.

Stepping up for NU was the solid play of junior Baree Ward who paced the Seahawks with 17 points while putting forth a 6-of-10 shooting effort. An All-Conference standout from a year ago, Ward also dished out a game-high seven assists. NU forward Seven Ezumba, a native of Nigeria, was the only other Northwood player to reach double-figures with 12 points while also adding in four blocks and three steals.

Now 2-15 on the season, PBA will turn their attention to this Friday’s matchup with Flagler College when they welcome in FC to the Rubin Arena for a 7 p.m. showdown.

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