Sailfish Give NCAA Division I Central Florida a Tough Test on Monday Evening

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

Sailfish Freshman Marcus Hardy (Pictured) Led All Players on the Night with 19 Points and Seven Rebounds Versus UCF. Photo Courtesy of: Guzman Photo. Sailfish Freshman Marcus Hardy (Pictured) Led All Players on the Night with 19 Points and Seven Rebounds Versus UCF. Photo Courtesy of: Guzman Photo.

Box Score

ORLANDO, Fla.- Although the final score may not have indicated as much the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team more than held their own on Monday evening as they challenged themselves against the likes of NCAA Division I, University of Central Florida. Freshman Marcus Hardy and junior Dante Valentine both put together big individual performances to be competitive with the Golden Knights who coughed up a big second-half lead to finish with an 84-69 victory over PBA.

Trailing by as many as 28 points in the second-half with under five minutes to go, the Sailfish (4-17) would not give up in their attempt to knock off the bigger and more athletic Knights who improved their overall record to 16-6 with just one loss on their home floor this season.

 UCF jumped in front 7-0 early on and led by a 14-3 margin just four minutes into the game before Palm Beach Atlantic responded with a solid run of their own as they cut the advantage down to 16-11 when center Ian Sitz knocked down a 3-pointer with 11:55 to go in the half.

Both teams would mostly exchange baskets over the next few minutes before a late run by UCF pushed their first-half advantage to as many as 17 points when junior guard Marcus Jordan knocked down a 3-pointer with under a minute to play.

Another Sitz jumper on the next PBA possession cut the deficit to 15 points before another Knights 3-pointer from Isaiah Sykes just before the buzzer  left the Fish trailing 43-25 at the break.

The Sailfish were limited to 29 percent (9-31) shooting in the opening half while the Knights managed a 47.1 percent (16-34) shooting mark in the opening stanza.

With the Knights poised to potentially run away with a big home win in the second-half the Sailfish had other ideas.

A 16-0 run for PBA cut the deficit to as low as 12 points before the Knights would settle for the 15-point win.

Hardy led all scorers on the night with 19 points and seven rebounds as the Detroit, Michigan native connected on 7-of-15 shots from the field while playing 35 minutes.

Valentine showed his strong overall skill-set with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds while adding five steals in 40 minutes.

Valentine’s gritty defensive play helped force UCF into 17 turnovers while PBA managed just 11 miscues.

Matt Roy hit 2-of-4 attempts from beyond the arc and finished 4-of-9 overall as he also reached double-figures with 10 points while adding in four assists.

Jordan, the son of basketball legend Michael Jordan, finished 5-of-10 from three-point range to lead his team with 17 points while adding in three assists and two steals in 26 minutes.

Freshman Kasey Wilson added 15 points off the bench for UCF while Sykes and Keith Clanton chipped in with 14 and 12 points respectively.

PBA will look to quickly regroup as they will battle Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida on Wednesday, February 1st at 7:30 pm as part of a PBA-BU double-header.

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