Sailfish Start Home Schedule with a Bang as they Knock Off No. 5 Northwood

Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations

Junior Marcus Hardy (Pictured) Scored 15 Points on Saturday in the Team's Home Opener.Junior Marcus Hardy (Pictured) Scored 15 Points on Saturday in the Team's Home Opener.

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The Sailfish men’s basketball team welcomed in a laud and raucous Homecoming crowd on Saturday afternoon at the Rubin Arena as they hosted their cross-town rival Northwood University. A close game throughout the ‘Fish pulled away late as they defeated the No. 5-ranked (NAIA Division II) Seahawks by a final score of 75-65 to give the team their first win of the 2013-14 season.

The victory over Northwood (2-1) is the first for PBA against their West Palm Beach neighbors since Feb. 11th, 2008 which resulted in a nine-game winning streak by NU being broken on Saturday afternoon by a new-look Sailfish squad.

Head coach David Balza also earned his first win on the Sailfish sidelines as Palm Beach Atlantic improves to 1-1. They will have a quick turnaround on Monday, Nov. 18th when they host Florida Tech for a “White Out” at 7 pm in the Rubin Arena.

Saturday’s game started with Northwood holding the lead throughout much of the first-half, even leading by double-digits (25-15) at one point, before a late run by PBA led them to a 33-33 tie entering halftime.

The Sailfish closed the half on a 15-4 run that was highlighted by a ferocious dunk in transition from senior guard Alan Hardy who was playing in his first game since the 2011-12 season after missing all of last year due to injury.

Newcomers Clayton Williams and Evin Graham helped PBA close out the half with a 3-pointer and a pair of free-throws respectively as they knotted the score at 33-33.

The two teams shot nearly identical in the first-half with Chris Solomon leading all scorers with 14 points for NU and PBA being paced by eight points each from Williams and Graham.

The second-half saw a quick lead to PBA on a Marcus Hardy layup as they pushed in front by as many as seven points midway through the second stanza. The Seahawks would have a comeback in them however as a 13-5 run would ensue and Northwood would take their first lead of the second-half on an old-fashioned three-point play from Jake Lockhart with 7:19 remaining.

After trading baskets over the next several minutes the ‘Fish would take the lead back for good on a tip-in basket from Alan Hardy with 4:19 left in regulation. From that point, solid free-throw shooting and not turning the ball over against an increased Northwood defensive press would see the Sailfish coast to a 10-point victory.

Williams led PBA in scoring as he posted 16 points in his home debut while adding five rebounds in 34 minutes. Marcus Hardy added in 15 points with three steals and a pair of blocks while Graham and Garet Tucker each added in 12 points. Graham also contributed four assists and four steals.

Big-man Cory Kenning played a solid 12 minutes off the bench with seven points and three rebounds while the Sailfish also got solid bench production from Ronnell Ross with a team-best six boards.

Solomon led all scorers on the afternoon with 23 points for Northwood as the left-handed sharp-shooter finished 8-of-20 from the field in 37 minutes. Lockhart proved to be a force underneath with 18 points and 15 rebounds in the loss.

The Sailfish defense proved to be the difference in the contest as they forced Northwood into 22 turnovers while making only 11 miscues on offense including just four in the second –half. The PBA bench also outscored their opposition by a 26-11 final tally.

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