Turnovers Cost PBA in Season Debut Against Rollins College

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

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Welcoming in a big crowd for opening night the Sailfish men’s basketball team hoped to give the Palm Beach Atlantic fans a great show against Rollins College on Friday night. Although there were some exciting moments with signs of good things to come, the team struggled with its consistency as they look to shape a new group of players into a winning recipe. The Tars took advantage of 25 PBA turnovers as they built on a seven-point halftime lead into a 63-47 win over the Fish.

Picked to win the Sunshine State Conference for what would be a third straight year in the preseason conference poll, the Tars (1-0) perhaps had revenge on their mind after dropping last season’s early matchup against Palm Beach Atlantic (0-1) at the Rubin Arena.

After a solid first-half shooting effort that saw PBA match RC exactly with both teams knocking down 10-of-23 field-goals for 43.5%, the Tars defense would stifle and Fish hopes at a second-half comeback as they limited the PBA shooters to just a 17.9% showing in the second-half including 0-of-16 from beyond-the-arc.

After a quick start led Rollins out to a 12-6 lead when Jeremy Sharpe knocked down a triple with 14:40 left in the first-half, PBA responded with five straight points from junior forward Ian Sitz to cut the lead to 12-11 with 13:11 remaining.

A long scoring drought for both teams would then follow as it would take several minutes before either team would find the bottom of the net again. It would be the Tars who would respond first and they would push their advantage to a first-half best 11 points on a Brett Chance jumper with 2:54 remaining.

The Fish would cut things to single digits again before heading into halftime as Rollins led 32-25 at the break.

PBA rode the hot early hand of junior Matthew Gierl who tallied 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting while adding in five rebounds. Rollins’ Myk Brown paced the Tars squad with 11 first-half points.

Brown and Company would only strengthen their lead in the second-half as RC moved ahead by as many as 25 points on two different occasions as they would roll to a season-opening win.

Brown led all scorers with 19 points on the night as he finished 5-of-10 from the field including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc while putting together a perfect night at the foul line with a 6-for-6 showing.

Dave Diakite, a UCF transfer, added in 13 points and seven rebounds while Sharpe rounded out RC’s double-digit scoring output.

Palm Beach Atlantic was led by freshman Marcus Hardy who showed a solid skill set in tallying 15 points and nine rebounds, both tops on the team, while adding in six steals in 37 minutes of court time.

Gierl was held scoreless in the second-half as he finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Palm Beach Atlantic will play host to the University of Tampa on Wednesday, November 16th as part of a PBA –UT basketball double-header.

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