Back and Forth Contest Ends in Florida Tech's Favor at the Rubin Arena

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

The Sailfish Crowd, Including the Rubin Rowdies Made for a Great Environment on Monday Evening as PBA Hosted Florida Tech. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.The Sailfish Crowd, Including the Rubin Rowdies Made for a Great Environment on Monday Evening as PBA Hosted Florida Tech. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- A large and energetic crowd saw witness to a great college basketball game on Monday evening as the Rubin Rowdies were unveiled and supported the Sailfish men’s basketball team to the final minute in a classic struggle with Florida Tech. In the end the ‘Fish were missing a final big shot that could have forced a different outcome as the Panthers prevailed by a score of 75-69.

Fresh off their exciting win over No. 5-ranked (NAIA Division II) Northwood University in Saturday’s home opener, the Sailfish (1-2) were looking to derail another unbeaten by welcoming in Florida Tech (4-0) to the friendly confines of the Rubin Arena.

The big crowd on hand helped lift the Blue and White to a 13-point halftime lead (44-31) however a ferocious comeback from the Panthers mid-way through the second-half coupled with some cold PBA shooting would be enough to withstand a late PBA comeback attempt.

Florida Tech shook off a tough first-half shooting effort of 29.7-percent (11-37) to post a near complete turnaround after intermission as they produced a 55.6-percent (15-27) mark in the second-half to earn the victory.

They also held key leads in rebounds (54-47) and second-chance points (21-15) to make the difference in the ballgame.

The first-half saw an electric start by Palm Beach Atlantic as they broke a 6-6 tie to go on a 12-3 run to move in front 18-9 with 12:18 to play in the first-half.

In fact the PBA lead would hover around 10 points throughout the remainder of the first stanza as a layup by junior guard Evin Graham as time expired sent PBA to the lockeroom with their biggest advantage of the half at 44-31.

Junior Marcus Hardy had a big first-half with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting for the ‘Fish while Christian Martinez knocked down 4-of-5 shots off the bench to add in 10 points for PBA. Jermaine Jackson began what would be a big night with 10 first-half points in 18 minutes to lead FIT.

The second-half began with the teams trading baskets as the Sailfish continued to keep their lead in double-digits. Things changed around the 14 minute mark of the second-half as a tip-in from Cameron Stahl was quickly followed up by a dunk from Corbin Jackson and a trey from Jermaine Jackson to trim the PBA lead to 53-50 with 12:36 to play.

FIT would take their first lead since they lead 6-4 early in the contest when Corbin Jackson broke a 59-59 tie with another big slam inside as the Panthers moved in front with 7:32 to play.

From that point the Panthers appeared poised to run away with the lead as they consistently found space underneath for close-range opportunities and stretched their advantage to double-digits.

The Sailfish, unlike in past seasons did not fall away however as clutch free-throw shooting by newcomer Garet Tucker down the stretch saw the team cut the FIT lead to just 71-67 with a minute to play.

Although they would have their opportunities the ‘Fish could not get the big shot to fall as Florida Tech closed out the game at the free-throw line and earned a much-deserved victory.

The Sailfish shot only 15-percent from the field in the second-half as they netted only 6-of-40 shots as a team while making only 1-of-12 from beyond the arc.

Both teams were similar at the charity stripe in the contest with FIT knocking down 18-of-33 (54.5-percent) and the Sailfish making good on 19-of-29 (65.5-percent) in the game.

The Sailfish were paced by 14 points and 10 rebounds from Marcus Hardy for his first double-double of the season as he also managed four steals while Tucker added in 14 points of his own. Martinez finished with 10 points, all in the first-half while Graham led all PBA players with 13 rebounds to go along with six points and five assists.

Florida Tech was led by Jermaine Jackson who despite a tough shooting night of 6-of-19 from the field did manage 23 points while Corbin Jackson put together a monster effort of 16 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks.

The Sailfish will look to bounce back by traveling to the University of Tampa on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 4 pm.

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