Sailfish Defeat The Fighting Knights for Tenth Win
January 20, 2016
Written by: Will Johansen, Sports Information Assistant
BOCA RATON, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic men’s basketball team (10-6) won their fourth game in a row Wednesday night, as they defeated the Lynn University Fighting Knights 81-76 in the de Hoernle Sports Center in Boca Raton.
Trailing by nine points with under 12 minutes to play in regulation, the Sailfish turned things around by outscoring the Knights 30-18 to close out the game for the 81-76 win.
The first half Wednesday night started out completely in the Fighting Knights favor, as the Sailfish immediately started things our trailing by as many as eight points in the opening five minutes. The ‘Fish chipped away until they gained their first lead of the evening courtesy of a Michael Simpson three-pointer at the 8:53 mark. The lead did not hold long as the Knights were able to nod things back up the ensuing possession, and regain the lead following a Sailfish turnover.
Following the turnover, the Sailfish and Knights exchanged blows for a few minutes until the 4:27 mark when Shavanno Cooper scored on a layup in the paint that sparked a 6-0 run for the ‘Fish, giving Palm Beach Atlantic a 32-28 lead, their biggest of the first half. The Knights brought themselves closer, and eventually brought things within one, as the teams went into halftime with the ‘Fish out in front 42-41.
Michael Simpson started the second half off with a bang, as the senior threw down a statement slam dunk to get things going for the ‘Fish. The slim lead would not hold for long, as the Fighting Knights were able to regain momentum and the lead, as the Knights went on a 17-7 run over the opening eight minutes of the second half, giving themselves a 60-51 lead with 11:52 remaining in regulation.
PBA closed out the final 12 minutes scoring 15 points from seniors Michael Simpson, Nigel Sydnor, and Derick Yepes; and another 15 points from newcomers Malek Barber, Shavanno Cooper, and Osandai Vaughn. The 30-18 run for the Sailfish sealed the 81-76 win, giving the Sailfish their 10th win of the year.
The Sailfish had five players score in double-digits on the night. Michael Simpson led the way for the ‘Fish with 17 points while connecting on three-of-four from distance.
Osandai Vaughn finished with 13 points on the night. The Charlotte, N.C. native was five-of-six from the field, while knocking down his only attempt from long-range. The junior also added two-of-three from the charity stripe.
Shavanno Cooper finished with 12 points while also snagging six rebounds. The junior from Freeport, Bahamas was six-of-eleven from the field.
Senior Nigel Sydnor picks up his first double-digit scoring performance of the year, as the Baltimore, Md. native connected on four-of-eight field goals, and was four-of-six from the free-throw line to finish with 12 points on the evening. Sydnor also grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists.
Malek Barber added his eighth double-digit scoring performance on the year, finishing with 11 points. The freshman added four assists and two steals to his night as well.
The Lynn Fighting Knights (8-8) were led offensively by David Johnson, Fred Landers, and Jamal Palmer, who finished with 27, 19, and 15 points respectively.
In just sixteen games, the Sailfish have matched their win total from last season, and are looking to improve on their season this Saturday, as the ‘Fish travel to St. Petersburg, Fla. to take on the Eckerd College Tritons. The game is set for a 4 p.m. tipoff. The Sailfish head back home to the Rubin Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 27 as they host Embry-Riddle University beginning at 7:30 p.m.