Graham's Buzzer Beater Lifts the Sailfish to Big Road Win Over Paine College
December 17, 2013
Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations
AUGUSTA, Ga.- A disappointing loss on Monday evening to Morehouse College left the Sailfish men’s basketball team in a tough position of having to take on another unfamiliar opponent in Paine College on Tuesday afternoon with short rest. The teams would need all 40 minutes to decide a victor as junior Evin Graham would knock down the game-winning jumper as time expired to lift PBA to an exciting 80-78 win over Paine at the Heal Complex.
The last two minutes of the contest proved to be a microcosm of the entire game which featured numerous shifts in momentums and big-time plays by both teams.
With PBA leading by four points (74-70) with 1:26 to play the Lions would not go away as Markees Walker knocked down a 3-pointer to once again put pressure back on the Sailfish to execute on their end.
Senior Christian Martinez would push the PBA lead back to 76-73 with just over a minute left with a basket before a dunk on the other end by Jordan Warner trimmed the PBA lead back once again to a one point cushion.
Now forced to foul, the Lions sent Williams to the charity stripe where the Georgia native calmly sank both free-throws to make things 78-75 in favor of the Fish with only 17 ticks left on the clock.
Back came Walker however as he sank another big 3-pointer that tied the score at 78-78 which left the Sailfish with the all-important last possession.
After getting the ball to midcourt and calling a timeout, head coach David Balza drew up the play that allowed Graham to penetrate the defense and knock down a jumper off the glass as time expired and lift his team to victory.
The last basket by Graham was part of his 16-point output that included just one missed field-goal (6-7) while making both of his attempts from long-range. Graham’s solid work was aided by a strong performance by Williams who found his three-point stroke by knocking down 4-of-6 treys and finishing with team-high honors of 18 points to go along with six assists.
Garet Tucker added nine points and seven rebounds in the winning cause while Ronnell Ross, Cory Kenning and Alan Hardy each chipped in eight points each off the bench. Hardy just missed a double-double with a team-high 11 boards in only 21 minutes of action.
The Sailfish came out firing on all cylinders as they led 17-2 just seven minutes into the contest thanks to early contributions from the likes of Stefan Dombrowsky, Williams and Tucker as the visitors appeared primed for a route of the Lions.
Not to be outdone or put away early, the Lions would answer with a strong final 12 minutes of the first-half as they went on a 27-11 run to overtake PBA for the first time in the game at 29-28 with 3:42 to play in the opening half.
The score would remain close over the final minutes of the half with Paine taking a 38-36 lead into intermission as Kendric Taylor put in a layup with 39 seconds remaining to give the Lions the lead.
Things would remain tight through the first five minutes of the second-half before it appeared that Paine might begin to pull away as they improved their lead to as many as 10 points on a Walker 3-pointer to move in front 59-49 with 11:20 to play.
Unlike in previous outings however the Sailfish would not fade away, instead keeping within striking distance until they were able to make a run of their own.
That run came with 5:52 to play as Graham knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in between a Martinez layup to knot the score at 67-67 with 4:24 to go. A basket by Hardy a few possessions later got the ‘Fish back on top which set the stages for the late game dramatics.
PBA finished with a 55.8-percent (29-52) shooting mark for the game while also knocking down 53.3-percent (8-15) of their opportunities from behind the three-point line for the game. Paine was limited to a 43.9-percent (29-66) shooting performance overall.
The Sailfish will attempt to rest up over the next few days before welcoming in Saint Leo University on Friday, Dec. 20th for a matchup at the Rubin Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 pm.