UPR- Rio Piedras Knocks Out Sailfish with Three-Point Barrage

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

Junior Evin Graham (Pictured, Left) Put Together His First Double-Double of the Season with 11 Points and 10 Rebounds in the Loss to UPR-Rio Piedras.Junior Evin Graham (Pictured, Left) Put Together His First Double-Double of the Season with 11 Points and 10 Rebounds in the Loss to UPR-Rio Piedras.

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The numbers don’t always tell the story but in other ways they speak volumes. The Sailfish men’s basketball team shot 55.9-percent on Wednesday afternoon and more than doubled the rebounding of their opponent in the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras but could not overcome an astonishing 17 made 3-pointers by the Gallitos. The Sailfish also tunred the ball over 20 times as the visitors earned an 86-83 win over the Palm Beach Atlantic heading into the Thanksgiving break.

The loss puts the Sailfish at 1-4 on the season while dropping their third straight as they will look to regroup during the Thanksgiving holiday before hitting the road on Saturday to take on Flagler College at 4 pm.

A battle that featured five ties and seven lead changes in the second-half the Gallitos proved committed to the outside shot and would attempt an eye-popping 45 tries from beyond the arc while making 17 triples.

No long-range bomb would be bigger than Bryan Martinez’ trey with 29 seconds left, his ninth triple of the contest, which would break an 81-81 tie. The ‘Fish would opt for a quick bucket underneath the next time down on a Marcus Hardy layup before a foul sent Hector Maldonado to the foul line for two shots with eight seconds left on the clock.

Maldonado calmly sank both freebies which set up one final play for the Sailfish in an attempt at a tie and hopeful overtime period. Following a PBA timeout, the long-range attempt by Marko Djekovic would go long and the Sailfish would fall as the Gallitos alertly picked up the rebound and threw the ball down the length of the floor as time expired.

Considerably undersized, the Gallitos’ will could not be shaken as they trailed for much of the contest. PBA jumped out to a 7-0 lead early on and built their first-half advantage to as many as 13 points when a layup by Garet Tucker put the home team up 32-19 with 5:01 remaining in the first-half.

Taking a page out of the PBA book for the early part of the season the Gallitos had a run in them as they closed out the half on a 19-9 run to trail by only a 41-38 margin as Maldonado drilled a 3-pointer with under 10 seconds to play in the opening stanza.

He finished with 14 first-half points to lead all scorers while the Sailfish were paced by nine points from senior guard Alan Hardy.

The second-half began with a bang as Maldonado deposited another long-ball to open the half and immediately tied the score at 41-41.

From there the two teams would jostle back and forth for the lead as neither squad could move in front by more than six points the rest of the way.

Maldonado led all players with 31 points on the night while knocking down 9-of-20 shots including 8-of-17 from beyond the three-point line and a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. Playing the other important outside threat for UPR-Rio Piedras was Martinez who banged home 27 points while hitting 9-of-22 shots from the floor including all but one of his attempts being from three-point land.

Due to their commitment to the outside shot and their smaller size they would be out-rebounded 40-18 by the Sailfish while being outscored 56-18 inside the paint.

The big key in the contest as it is so many times in college basketball is was the turnover battle as PBA was forced into 20 miscues compared to only 12 by the Gallitos. This disparity led to a 34-11 advantage by UPR-Rio Piedras in points off turnovers.

The Sailfish placed four starters in double-figures led by Alan Hardy’s 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 at the free-throw line. Marcus Hardy added 13 points while Tucker knocked down 6-of-9 shots overall to the tune of 12 points to go with seven rebounds.

The final double-digit scorer was junior guard Evin Graham who earned his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four assists. Clayton Williams contributed nine points, six assists and five rebounds in the loss.

Djekovic added seven points and seven assists off the PBA bench in 21 minutes.

PBA finished the game shooting 55.9 percent (33-59) while UPR-Rio Piedras concluded the contest at 45.2-percent (28-62).

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