Quick Start and Solid Finish Lead PBA to Win Over Buccaneers at the Rubin Arena

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

Ian Sitz (Pictured) Put Together One of His Strongest Nights in a PBA Uniform on Wedneday Evening with 17 Points and 8 Rebounds. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins. Ian Sitz (Pictured) Put Together One of His Strongest Nights in a PBA Uniform on Wedneday Evening with 17 Points and 8 Rebounds. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins.

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The Sailfish men’s basketball team appeared to be hungry and hopeful of putting their tough start to the season behind them on Wednesday evening as they hosted NCAA South Region rival Barry University as part of a basketball double-header at the Rubin Arena. The Sailfish ambushed the Buccaneers from the opening tip on their way to a 19-0 start to the game then held off a BU rally as the Sailfish claimed a much needed 65-60 victory.

Explosive from the start, the Sailfish (2-7) saw their starting front-court tandem of Carter McMasters and Ian Sitz each throw down dunks for the first two scores while the Buccaneers (3-5) would miss their first ten shots and not collect their first basket of the game until a Justin McCoy 3-pointer with 11:10 remaining in the half.

Although the Fish would put up a daunting number, BU would not give up as they closed the gap to as close as five points in the opening half when big-man Keion Palmer registered a dunk to cap a 16-2 run for the Bucs with 7:06 to play in the first-half.

Barry would get as close as three-points but a solid late run in the half by PBA saw them lead 33-22 heading into halftime.

Neither team was particularly lethal from a shooting perspective in the first-half as PBA shot 38.2 percent (13-34) while BU finished with a 34.5 percent (10-29) mark. PBA did force the opposition into seven turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.

The early stages of the second-half looked much like the same time frame of the first as PBA increased their lead to as many as 15 points when a pair of Nate Vera free-throws found the bottom of the net for a 46-31 lead with 14:35 to play.

That sizable lead would be short-lived for PBA however as BU began to chip away at the Sailfish advantage.

Barry would draw as close as three points when a pair of Chad Renfro free-throws found the bottom of the net with 54 seconds to play (59-56).

The next time down however a free-throw from Matt Roy followed by a defensive stop on the other end would put the game closer to the win column for PBA as they led by four points at 60-56 to breathe a bit easier.

Another strong defensive stand led to more PBA free-throws where the Blue and White would hit five of their final six to close out the win.

A balanced team effort would result in the win for PBA as four players reached double-figures. Junior Dante Valentine once again paced the team in scoring as he registered a game-high 18 points while making 6-of-11 shots including a trio of 3-pointers while also cashing in on 3-of-4 attempts at the charity stripe.

Sitz provided one of his strongest games as a Sailfish by netting a career-high 17 points on 5-of-11 from the field and 7-of-10 from the line. Both Sitz and Valentine collected eight rebounds.

McMasters finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds while tallying four of PBA’s nine blocks on the night.

Palmer led BU with 14 points off the bench while collecting seven rebounds and five blocks in 31 minutes of court time.

Barry’s second-half shooting effort matched their first-half as they finished 10-of-29 in each half.

The Sailfish won the turnover battle with an 11-14 edge while also holding the advantage in rebounding at 42-36.

PBA will be off the remainder of the week and will not play again until Saturday, December 17th when they host St. Thomas University at 7 pm.

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