Sailfish Lose Halftime Lead, Drop Finale to Rollins
February 27, 2016
Written By: TJ Budd, Sports Information Director
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A halftime lead didn’t hold up on Saturday as Palm Beach Atlantic men’s basketball saw their season end in a high-scoring affair, falling to Rollins 97-90 on senior day at Rubin Arena.
The Sailfish built a seven point halftime lead only to see it evaporate in the first two minutes of the second half, never able to regain it. Seniors Michael Simpson and Nigel Sydnor helped the ‘Fish (12-14) get off to a good start on Saturday as Simpson nailed a pair of triples in the first 3:17. Sydnor scored nine of the team’s first 23 points including a personal 5-0 run that culminated with a triple to tie the game at 23-23.
After the game was tied at 30 the Sailfish ripped off a 17-5 run to take a 12-point lead with just over a minute to play in the half. Six different players scored during the run, part of the balanced attack that saw seven players score in the game including four in double digits. Rollins closed the half with five straight all from Sam Philpott who netted 20 in the game.
The Tars (21-7) carried their momentum into the second half where they tied the game at 49-49 just two minutes in. The lead grew to eight before the ‘Fish scored seven straight to pull within one at 70-69 with 7:48 to play. The Tars responded quickly with back-to-back triples to push the lead back out to seven.
PBA again made a run, cutting the deficit down to two with 3:22 to play but Rollins’ Jeff Merton hit a three and Philpott made a free throw to start an 11-2 run for the Tars to put the game out of reach.
Sydnor scored 20 points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds and dished out a team-best four assists in his final game for the Blue and White. He made 6-of-10 from the floor and connected on 7-of-12 from the line. Simpson added 17 points, making 4-of-11 from distance. Bakari Warthen led the ‘Fish with 21 points off the bench. Milos Kostic hit three triples and scored nine points while Malek Barber added 11 points.
PBA shot 44.8 percent from the floor in the game while Rollins made 54.4 percent overall and 66.7 percent in the second half. The Tars made 26-of-34 from the free throw line while PBA hit 19-of-26. The Tars were led by Merton’s 21 points.
The 12 wins for the ‘Fish is tied for the most in a season during the NCAA Division II era and marks the third straight year the team has improved their win total from the previous season.