‘Fish Close Out 2013 with Four Overtime Marathon Win Over Johnson & Wales
December 31, 2013
Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- After a 10-day break for the holidays the Sailfish men’s basketball team returned to their home floor on Tuesday afternoon for a matchup against Johnson & Wales (Fla.) University in a New Year’s Eve matinee. The fans and the teams got a full dose of basketball at the Rubin Arena as it would take until the fourth overtime to decide a winner as PBA outscored JWU 10-1 in the final period to escape with a 103-94 win over the Wildcats.
Taking on an unfamiliar opponent while mixing in a long break from action can sometimes trip up a team as the ‘Fish (4-9) were taking on the Wildcats (9-4) for the first time in their NCAA Division II era.
The Sailfish placed five players in double-figures on the day including a team-high 22 points from senior Christian Martinez off the bench as the Miami, Fla. native keyed the team’s resurgent fourth overtime period with eight points including a pair of big 3-pointers down the stretch.
Throughout much of regulation it appeared the Sailfish would be able to cruise to an easy victory as they led big early when a pair of Clayton Williams free-throws found the bottom of the net to move in front 14-4 with 9:28 to play in the opening half.
Palm Beach Atlantic’s early lead would be short-lived however as JWU fought back with a 20-9 run over the next several minutes to retake the lead at 24-23 on a Myles Smith trey with 4:25 to go in the half.
PBA would settled for a 31-27 halftime lead as nine Sailfish players registered at least two points in the opening period including a team-best seven points from junior Marcus Hardy. Myles Smith led JWU with 10 points in the first-half as neither team topped 40-percent shooting.
The second-half featured more aggressive runs by both sides as junior Ronnell Ross single-handedly got the ‘Fish back up by double-digits to start the second stanza as the Harlem, N.Y. native poured in the half’s first six points on a 3-pointer and an old-fashioned three-point play to push PBA on top 37-27.
Things would remain in the hands of PBA until the final five minutes when the Wildcats began to make their move.
A 3-point bucket from Myles Smith once again gave the ‘Cats life as he tied the score at 55-55 with 4:37 to play in regulation. After PBA retook the advantage on an Alan Hardy 3-pointer on the next possession they would go into the final plays of regulation clinging to just a three-point cushion. A three-pointer in the final seconds from Myles Smith once again gave the Wildcats new life as they tied the score at 68-68. A late attempt by the Sailfish was blocked as the teams headed for overtime.
From that point both teams would have their chances at a buzzer-beating victory with the Sailfish missing on their chances in the first and third OT while JWU couldn’t connect in overtime period No. 2.
With the fans and teams growing restless, Martinez would prove to be the difference-maker in the fourth overtime as he knocked down two 3-pointers while adding in a pair of free-throws to pull the PBA lead out to a more comfortable and eventual winning margin.
Martinez finished with 22 points on 5-of-11 shooting including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. He was also a solid 8-of-9 at the charity-stripe as the Sailfish finished 36-of-50 at the free-throw line in the contest (72-percent) overall.
Alan Hardy added in 18 points and nine rebounds while both Evin Graham and Ross finished with double-doubles as Graham rattled home 14 points and 13 boards in a total of 52 minutes of court time while Ross was solid as well with 13 points and 12 boards in 44 minutes of playing time.
Marcus Hardy chipped in 14 points and a team-high five assists in his first game back following an injury while Cory Kenning registered a solid showing with eight points and seven rebounds off the PBA bench.
Johnson & Wales was led by 27 points from Jumaoke Smith as the long-range shooter knocked down 6-of-16 attempts from beyond the arc while going 10-of-25 overall. Myles Smith added in 26 points on 9-of-23 shooting.
In total, the two teams combined for 183 field-goal attempts while knocking down 66 combined from the field. PBA held a strong advantage on the boards with a 68-53 advantage.
PBA will have plenty of time to rest up following their long return to action as they won’t play again until Sat. Jan. 4th at 4 pm against Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.