Sailfish Drop Home Contest to Flagler College Saints

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Despite some strong moments, the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team was unable to push past Flagler College on Friday evening before a sizable crowd at the Rubin Arena. In the end, the Saints prevailed by a final score of 61-43.

Now 12-4 on the season, Flagler completed a basketball sweep of the Sailfish after the PBA women’s team dropped their contest earlier in the week to the hands of the Flagler women’s hoops team.

Like many of the games this season, things started off promising for the young Sailfish squad as a jumper by freshman big-man Karan Bajwa (Amsterdam, Netherlands) put the blue and white up by a tally of 10-6 with 13:33 remaining in the opening half and gave the Fish a confident early game advantage. That lead would be short-lived however as the Saints would respond with a 16-2 run over the next seven minutes to take a commanding 22-12 lead midway through the opening period of play and essentially put the game back into the hands of the visitors.

PBA would come as close as nine points in the first half as a two-point basket by senior Fitzroy Anthony (Boca Raton, Fla.) put the score at 20-29 in favor of the Saints. Flagler would tally one more basket before the break when Adam Dixon collected his only points of the game on a feed from D.J. Feguson as the score would be knotted at 31-20 entering intermission.

Ben De La Cruz led the first-half efforts for Flagler by registering 14 points and six rebounds as he abused the Sailfish interior while making eight trips to the charity stripe and connecting on six free-throws. Flagler also did an admirable job on the defensive end in the first half as they limited PBA’s shooting percentage to a 24.2% clip (8-33) and allowing for only three attempts from beyond the arc.

The second-half featured a similar shooting fate for the Fish as they were successful on only 9-of-31 shots from the field (29%) and ended the contest just 1-9 from three-point land.

PBA was led on the night by the strong play of sophomore Jonathan Lawrence (Miami Lakes, Fla.) who finished with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds while connecting on 6-of-10 shots from the field. Anthony was the only other Sailfish player to reach double-figures as he netted 12 points while also dishing out three assists.

PBA newcomer Jaime Bethel (Nassau, Bahamas) made his Sailfish debut tonight as well and contributed seven rebounds off the bench in 21 minutes of action.

While his production slowed somewhat in the second-half due to a strong defensive effort by PBA forward Anthony Gugingo (N. Palm Beach, Fla.), De La Cruz finished the game with game-high honors of 20 points and 14 rebounds while also chipping in two blocks. Lyndon Merthie was the only other Saints player to reach double-figures by adding in 10 points. Ferguson led the offensive attack from the point guard position and finished with seven points and six assists.

PBA won the battle on the boards for the evening by bringing down 47 compared to that of 35 by the Saints while both teams did a good job of taking care of the basketball as they combined for just 10 turnovers, with the Fish ringing in with six.

PBA now turns their focus to county rival Lynn University as the Fish will travel to Boca Raton, Florida on Tuesday, January 22nd for a 7 pm showdown with the Fighting Knights.

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