Second-Half Surge Lifts Flagler to Victory over Palm Beach Atlantic

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

Junior Marcus Hardy (Pictured) Poured In a Season-Best 21 Points on Saturday as the Sailfish Fell 80-71 at Flagler College. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins.Junior Marcus Hardy (Pictured) Poured In a Season-Best 21 Points on Saturday as the Sailfish Fell 80-71 at Flagler College. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins.

Box Score

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.- The shots simply weren’t falling in the second-half for Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday afternoon at the Flagler College Gymnasium as the Saints erased a five-point deficit at the half to claim an 80-71 victory over the Sailfish. Flagler shot 55.8-percent (17-31) from the field in the second-half to lead them to their third win of the young season.

A solid first-half effort for PBA helped the team overcome a lackluster start as Flagler led early at 10-2 with 14:03 to play in the first-half.

Some personnel changes from head coach David Balza would then ensue and the Sailfish responded with a 13-0 run led by multiple buckets by both Marcus Hardy and Christian Martinez to move in front 15-10 with 11:07 to go. 

Although the Saints (3-1) would recover they still trailed going into the locker room as PBA settled for a 37-32 lead after Matthew Gierl added a layup on the team’s final possession of the half.

Early on in the second period the ‘Fish would add on as back-to-back baskets by Alan Hardy and Garet Tucker extended PBA’s lead to 41-32 as they appeared poised to put some significant distance between themselves and the Saints.

Flagler had other plans however and quickly trimmed the PBA lead down and finally re-took the lead with 11:58 to play on a 3-pointer from Richard Brown to move ahead 52-51.

Both teams would continue to battle and Palm Beach Atlantic would tie the score at 66-66 with 4:20 to go on an old-fashioned 3-point play from Marcus Hardy to setup what they hoped would be an exciting finish.

From that point however the Sailfish would go cold as they made only one more field-goal until a late 3-pointer from Marcus Hardy with under a minute to go as Flagler pulled away for the victory.

Hardy put together his strongest performance of the season with a team-high 21 points to go with five rebounds in 26 minutes. Tucker began the day strong on the block as well and finished with 14 points and a team-best seven rebounds. Junior guard Evin Graham concluded his day with a game-high eight assists but was also forced into six turnovers.

Flagler was led by the dominant play of senior Keith Matthews who finished 10-of-20 from the floor for 23 points to go with 12 rebounds. Brown added 19 points while Jerrell Oxendine knocked down 3-of-5 tries from beyond the three-point arc on his way to adding 18 points off the FC bench.

PBA will welcome Lynn University to the Rubin Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 4th for their next contest with first tip set for 7 pm. 

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