‘Fish Drop Close Contest to Paine College to Wrap up 2014
December 20, 2014
Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The Sailfish men’s basketball team hoped to end the 2014 portion of their season on a high note on Saturday afternoon at the Rubin Arena but Paine College would have other plans. A tight 61-59 victory over the Sailfish avenged a two-point loss by Paine last season as they suffered a loss via a buzzer-beating shot for the ‘Fish.
The streaking Sailfish began the season with a 5-0 record but now stand at 5-4 as they look to utilize the Christmas break to regroup and refocus heading into the busy last few months of the season. PBA will do battle 17 more times in the second-half of the season with 16 of those contests coming against members of the Sunshine State Conference.
Saturday’s showdown with Paine featured a close contest throughout as neither team could grab a lead larger than six points throughout the game.
Although neither team topped 41-percent shooting in the first-half the Sailfish held a minor edge and settled for a 32-29 lead at the break. Nine points from senior Evin Graham and eight more from fellow veteran Ronnell Ross gave the ‘Fish a slight cushion heading into intermission as they hoped to put some distance between them and the Lions on the scoreboard in the second-half.
A solid start to the second-half saw the ‘Fish receive back-to-back cuts to the hoop from Michael Simpson on a pair of Ross’ helpers as PBA stretched their advantage out to a game-high lead of 41-35 with 16:40 to play.
With the Lions hot on their heels it wouldn’t be until the 11:33 mark that PC would grab back the lead as Alfonso Davis netted a bucket to push ahead 45-44.
Things remained tight until the final horn sounded as a pair of Clayton Williams free-throws tied the contest at 59-59 with 1:11 remaining in regulation.
After a strong defensive stand the Sailfish defense would fall asleep for a brief moment on the final possession by Paine as Don Quarles slipped underneath for an easy layup that gave Paine the lead.
The Sailfish would have their opportunities in the final seconds however as a near miss underneath by PBA with less than ten seconds remaining left the ‘Fish needing to foul. After Paine missed the front-end of a bonus foul shot the Sailfish raced the other way and quickly called timeout to setup a final play with 2.1 seconds on the clock.
A failed inbounds play resulted in a turnover however as the Lions were able to run out the clock and escape the Rubin Arena with a hard-fought victory.
Graham and Williams paced the PBA attack with 14 points each while Ross was once again strong underneath with a double-double performance of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Garet Tucker added eight points and five rebounds while Simpson finished with six points.
The Lions were led by 14 points from Arnis Libazs while Denzel Dillingham added 12 points, eight assists and four boards off the bench. The Lions bench outscored the Sailfish reserve counterparts by a final tally of 32-6.
Paine also held a sizable advantage in rebounds as they grabbed a 42-28 disparity while outscoring the ‘Fish 38-24 in the paint.
PBA will now be off from game action until Friday, January 2nd when they travel to Winter Park, Fla. for a showdown at Rollins College.