Sailfish Sizzle in Second Half, Comeback to Defeat Spartans 78-69
January 13, 2016
Written by: Will Johansen, Sports Information Assistant
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- For the second time in as many games, the Palm Beach Atlantic men’s basketball team rallied in the second half for a come-from-behind win. The Sailfish defeated the University of Tampa Spartans 78-69 Wednesday night in the Rubin Arena to advance to 8-6 on the season. The win over Tampa is the first for PBA since Jan. 21, 2012, snapping a six-game skid against the Spartans.
Senior Michael Simpson brought the Sailfish within three when his hit his first of three 3-pointers with just under seven minutes left to play. A steal and fast-break dunk from Bakari Warthen brought the ‘Fish within a point with 5:20 left to play. A layup by Malek Barber and another Simpson three-pointer put the Sailfish up 67-63 with 4:13 left in the game, a lead the ‘Fish would only build on in the remaining minutes of the contest.
The Sailfish opened the first half shooting 46.9 percent from the field, but were out-gunned by a blistering 61.3 percent from the Spartans. The ‘Fish were able to tie things up on three occasions, but were unable to gain a lead over the Spartans in the first half, as the opening half ended by a score of 41-36 in favor of Tampa.
Defense and cold shooting from Tampa in the second half helped the Sailfish climb back into the game, as the Spartans were held to zero percent from three-point land, and were cooled down to 45.7 percent from the field. The Sailfish capitalized scoring 12 points off 10 Spartan turnovers in the second half en route to their comeback, outscoring Tampa 42-28 in the final twenty minutes Wednesday night.
Bakari Warthen finished the night with 25 points, five steals, three rebounds, and four assists. This is the seventh time on the year that the freshman from West Palm Beach has scored 20 or more.
Michael Simpson finished the night with 16 points and five assists. The senior from Spring, Texas knocked down four three-pointers on the evening, with three of them coming in clutch time. Wednesday night was the seventh time that Simpson reached the double-digit scoring plateau for the 'Fish this season.
Freshman Malek Barber also finished the night in double-digit scoring numbers. The North Port, Fla. native finished the night with an even 10 points, which is his fifth consecutive game scoring in double-figures.
For the third time this year, Shavanno Cooper led the way for the Sailfish on the glass, as the junior from Freeport, Bahamas grabbed six of the team’s 32 rebounds. Every Sailfish that played tonight snagged at least one rebound.
Leading the way for the Spartans’ offense were Duke Shelton and Pat Bacon, who finished with 23 and 18 points, respectively.
Palm Beach Atlantic, winners of four of their last five, head to Winter Park on Saturday, Jan. 16 as the ‘Fish take on the Rollins College Tars at 4 p.m. for their first of three road games before heading back home to the Rubin Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 27 as they host Embry-Riddle University beginning at 7:30 p.m.