Sailfish Take Down Fighting Knights For First Win With Wild Finish

Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Communications

Dante Valentine (Pictured) Came Through with a Big First-Half on Wednesday Night as the Sailfish Collected an Exciting 72-71 Win Over Lynn University in Boca Raton.Dante Valentine (Pictured) Came Through with a Big First-Half on Wednesday Night as the Sailfish Collected an Exciting 72-71 Win Over Lynn University in Boca Raton.

Box Score

BOCA RATON, Fla.- If you love college basketball, Wednesday evening’s Palm Beach Atlantic versus Lynn University had something for everyone. Exciting offensive runs, big individual performances and of course a wild finish in the final seconds. Leading 72-71 with less than two seconds on the clock and LU at the foul line, Palm Beach Atlantic would escape the de Hoernle Center victorious as LU missed both free-throws as the Sailfish bench celebrated a hard-fought first victory of the season.

In what can only be described as one of the most bizarre wire-to-wire wins in program history, the Sailfish (1-2) utilized an energetic first-half effort to lead 44-26 at the break while leading by as many as 20 points in the opening-half.

Things wouldn’t come easy however as a resilient second-half effort by the Fighting Knights (1-1) saw them claw their way back thanks to some clutch baskets down the stretch.

After PBA pulled off a nifty full-court pass for an easy layup by senior guard Salim Fauras to move in front 72-68 with six seconds remaining, the Knights would go full court quickly with LU guard Brandon Smith draining a 3-pointer with just three seconds left to draw LU within one.

A Sailfish turnover on the inbounds play and a loose ball foul just a second later put LU guard Dante Scholl at the line for two shots with only 1.9 seconds remaining in regulation. After seeing his first attempt go in-then-out, Scholls was back at the charity stripe hoping for a game-tying free-throw to potentially send the game to overtime.

Unfortunately for Scholls and the Knights, his second attempt would hit the front of the iron and bounce into the sure hands of Fauras as the final horn sounded to give PBA their first win of the 2012-13 campaign.

Early on it was all Sailfish as they led 9-0 on two buckets each from seniors Dante Valentine and Matthew Gierl.

Valentine was just getting started in the first-half as he put together an inspired performance that saw the versatile guard sink 16 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting while also grabbing seven rebounds to lead the cause.

The 18-point halftime advantage for PBA came on the heels of a 51.4-percent (18-35) shooting performance in the opening half while sinking half of their three-point opportunities (6-12). The Fish also forced the Knights into 12 turnovers and led the rebounding margin 19-16.

After an early spurt by the Knights in the second-half cut the PBA advantage to 10 points at 49-39, the Sailfish would regroup and push their lead back out to a more comfortable 17 point advantage following a Marcus Hardy layup with 12:40 to go.

From that point the Knights would expand their game to beyond the three-point line as they hoped to make up the difference in a hurry.

Long-balls by Slobodan Miljanic and Reed Ridder got the lead down to single digits a few minutes later as Ridder’s trey limited the PBA lead to just 60-53 with 7:58 to play in regulation.

After a Hardy 3-pointer seemed to give the Sailfish some new life at 63-54, Miljanic drained back-to-back treys the next two LU possessions to bring the score to just a single possession.

Feeling the energy of their home crowd, the Knights would cut the lead to two points on a one-of-two trip to the free-throw line by Jeremy Lampkin with 3:53 left as PBA clung to a 63-61 lead.

A deep 3-pointer from PBA junior Christian Martinez the next time down the floor for the Fish gave the them another momentum-changing swing before both teams traded buckets until the final seconds.

Two clutch free-throws from Valentine with just fewer than 30 seconds to play appeared to put the game out of reach until the late LU rally left them the opportunity to tie or possibly win the game at the free-throw line.

Hardy led all scorers on the night with 23 points while adding in five rebounds and two steals.

Valentine slowed his production in the second-half but still managed a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds while finishing 7-of-13 from the floor.

Gierl contributed another solid all-around night with 10 boards to go with nine points.

Martinez did all his damage from beyond the three-point arc as he finished 5-of-9 from deep for 15 points in 40 minutes of play.

Lynn posted four double-figure scorers including a team-high 17 points from Kaleb Clyburn.

The Sailfish will travel to the University of Tampa on Saturday, November 17th where they will take on the Spartans for a 4 pm tip-off for their next scheduled contest as they continue their five-game road swing to start the season.

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