Sailfish Drop Opener of the Jay McCormick Classic in Heartbreaking Fashion

Written by: Will Johansen, Sports Information Assistant

Photo courtesy of Ron HilliardPhoto courtesy of Ron Hilliard

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The Sailfish dropped their opener of the Jay McCormick Classic in heartbreaking fashion Saturday afternoon in the Rubin Arena to the Lee University Flames. With the Sailfish leading 75-74 with ten seconds to play, the Flames inbounded the ball to Rico Overall, who hit a long-distanced three pointer at the buzzer to win the game 77-75 for the Flames.

The first half went mostly in favor of the Sailfish, with PBA leading from the first bucket until the 7:44 mark. Palm Beach Atlantic failed to extend their lead to double digits in the opening stanza, and their largest gap in the first half was six. The final seven minutes saw six different lead changes, as neither team jumped ahead by more than a bucket, with PBA taking the final lead of the first half, 34-32.

In the opening half, both teams hit four three-pointer a piece, as PBA hit 40 (4-of-10) percent and Lee hit 30.8 (4-of-13) percent from distance. De'Ondre Jackson led all scorers in the first half with 10 points, as the freshman hit 4-of-8 from the field including two from distance.

The second half however was a completely different story for both teams. Lee torched the Sailfish defense with nine three-pointers in the final twenty minutes of play compared to the 0-for-5 perforce from the ‘Fish. PBA landed 87.5 (7-of-8) percent from the charity stripe, but it was the final attempt of the evening for the Sailfish that was the biggest, as the missed one-and-one attempt for PBA allowed the Flames rebound that set up the inevitable game-winning shot.

A three-pointer out of the gate in the second half put Lee up 35-34, a lead that they eventually extended to 61-49 with 10:04 on the clock. The Sailfish chipped away over the next three and a half minutes of play going on a 12-1 run to bring PBA within a point with 6:23 remaining in the contest. Lee’s lead fluctuated over the next four minutes extending from a one-point lead to a six-point advantage back down to a one-point lead with 2:30 remaining on the clock when Keevin Tyus fouled Bakari Warthen and was then called for a technical foul, giving Warthen four attempts from the charity stripe. The sophomore connected on all four to give PBA a 73-71 advantage. The Flames fired back with another triple, Levi Wood’s only basket and attempt on the night. Michael Stones connected on a tough layup in a crowded paint with 48 seconds remaining in regulation to put PBA back on top 75-74, and looked to have sealed a victory for the Sailfish. A few turnovers from both teams and a PBA missed free throw later, Lee won it at the buzzer 77-75.

The comeback run was charged by three impressive second-half performances from the ‘Fish. Warthen scored 14 in the final half, finishing the night with 20 points. The West Palm Beach, Fla. native also swiped five steals on the afternoon.

Stones reached double-digit scoring for the first time as member of the Sailfish squad, as the sophomore from Windermere, Fla. scored eight second-half points, finishing the afternoon with 10.

Malek Barber scored 11 of his 15 points on the afternoon in the second half as well. The sophomore from North Port, Fla. grabbed six offensive rebounds, and snagged two steals as well.

Jackson, who led the way in the first half keeping the Sailfish in it with 10, finished the night with 14 points. The freshman from Youngstown, Ohio also added five rebounds, a pair of assists, and a block.

Lucas Morales led the Sailfish in rebounds, snagging eight total on the afternoon, six from the defensive side. The Oakland, Fla. native also swatted two shots, leading the game in blocks.

With the loss, the Sailfish fall to 3-2 on the early year. The ‘Fish will look to rebound tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, Nov. 27 as they host Valdosta State in the final game of the Jay McCormick Classic, at 4 p.m. in the Rubin Arena. Valdosta State won their opening game of the Jay McCormick Classic, defeating Lynn University Saturday afternoon 101-93.

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