Sailfish Go Cold Down the Stretch as Eckerd Earns a Season Split

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

Ronnell Ross (Pictured, Center) Gave the 'Fish a Boost on Saturday with a Season-High 18 Points to Lead All Scorers. Photo Courtesy of: Ronnell Ross. Photo Courtesy of: Neil Hayes.Ronnell Ross (Pictured, Center) Gave the 'Fish a Boost on Saturday with a Season-High 18 Points to Lead All Scorers. Photo Courtesy of: Ronnell Ross. Photo Courtesy of: Neil Hayes.

Box Score

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.- A game that featured seven ties and eight lead changes it was Eckerd College who made the necessary plays down the stretch on Saturday afternoon to earn a 68-63 win over the Sailfish men’s basketball team and split the season series. The Sailfish went without a field-goal over the final 4:38 of the game as the Tritons capitalized and then closed out the contest with a lead at the free-throw line.

Uncharacteristic of their recent play, the Sailfish (8-13) struggled with turnovers on Saturday as the Tritons (12-8) defense forced Palm Beach Atlantic into 17 miscues which coupled with their untimely shooting cold streak ultimately made the difference in the game.

The first-half saw neither team able to push their advantage to more than six points as PBA claimed the final five points of the half courtesy of junior Ronnell Ross as they moved into halftime trailing 34-33.

One of the key additions to this season’s turnaround has been the steady play of Ross in the front-court as the Harlem, N.Y. native poured in a season-high 15 points in the first-half as he was successful on 7-of-9 shots from the field in 17 minutes of court time.

The Tritons were led by 11 points from Jerrick Stevenson as both teams finished with similar shooting marks in the opening half. The Sailfish knocked down 44-percent (11-25) of their field-goal attempts while the Tritons made good on 48-percent (12-25). The two teams combined to go 3-for-16 from beyond the arc.

Eckerd pushed their close lead out to as many as seven points (53-46) midway through the second-half when Stevenson knocked down a trey with 9:24 remaining as they appeared poised to extend their lead to double-digits.

Following the Stevenson triple however the Sailfish were reenergized and would tie the contest a few minutes later thanks to an 8-1 run capped by a tip-in basket from senior Christian Martinez with 5:50 to go.

After trading baskets the next few possessions the Sailfish would finally find themselves leading when junior Garet Tucker connected on a jumper in the lane for 59-58 Sailfish lead with 4:39 to play.

That Tucker bucket however would be the last field-goal of the game for the Sailfish as missed shots and a few costly turnovers down the stretch would eliminate the ‘Fish from contending for victory.

Ross finished with 18 points to lead the Sailfish while adding in seven rebounds and three steals. Evin Graham was the only other Sailfish player to reach double-figures with 10 points to go along with five rebounds, four steals and three assists. The PBA point guard also unfortunately committed seven turnovers.

Tucker chipped in eight points and five boards in the loss while Martinez managed seven points off the Sailfish bench.

Eckerd placed three players in double-figures including a team-high 17 points from Stevenson while Josh Snodgrass added 14 points off the bench.

PBA will have off until next Saturday, Feb. 8th when they will travel to Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale for a 4 pm showdown with the Sharks.

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