Career Nights for Morales and Barber Lead The Way As The Sailfish Defeat Pace 93-81

Written by: Will Johansen, Sports Information Assistant

Photo courtesy of Ron HilliardPhoto courtesy of Ron Hilliard

Box Score

BOCA RATON, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish men’s basketball team snapped their three-game skid Saturday afternoon as the ‘Fish defeated Pace University 93-81 on the final day of the Boca Raton Holiday Classic hosted by Lynn University. The contest was a one-sided affair, as the ‘Fish led wire-to-wire on the day thanks to a hot start from and consistent shooting by the Sailfish, and also career-high scoring from Lucas Morales and Malek Barber. With the win, the ‘Fish advance to 6-5 on the season, while Pace drops to 4-9.

The ‘Fish got off to a hot start in the opening half with Barber scoring the game’s first seven points, and the first 10 points of the contest for Palm Beach Atlantic. The Sailfish lead was as wide of a nine-point margin at the 10:44 mark. While the PBA lead did diminish over the half, it never completely evaporated as consistent shooting for the Sailfish sent them into halftime with a 45-37 lead over the Setters.

As a team, PBA shot 51.4 (19-0f-37) percent in the half while connecting on 29.4 (5-of-17) percent from distance. While the Setters out-rebounded PBA 22-18 in the opening frame, the ‘Fish forced Pace to commit 10 turnovers, resulting in 11 Sailfish points in the half. PBA had two players finish the first half in double figures, Barber finished the half with 13, while Dakota Zinser scored 10.

The second half of play was the same story for the Sailfish, as they out-shot Pace 58.1 (18-of-31) percent to 40.5 (15-of-37) percent. Morales led the way for the ‘Fish in the half as the junior scored 14 points, capping it off with an emphatic slam dunk in the final 80 seconds of play. The closest the contest got in the second half came at the 13:54 mark when a Setter’s jumper brought Pace within three, but the Sailfish quickly turned up the heat eventually leading by 18 points with 6:20 left to play.

Both Barber and Morales finished with career-high scoring numbers Saturday afternoon. Barber finished with his career-high of 22 points connecting on 8-of-12 from the field, with 2-of-4 landing from distance, his first two made three-pointers of the season. With Morales finishing with his career-high of 20 hitting 7-of-14 from the field while also knocking down 2-of-7 from distance. The junior also grabbed 12 rebounds, his second double-double of the year.

Milos Kostic connected on 4-of-11 from the field, with three of his made baskets being from behind the arc, giving the junior from Serbia 11 points on the night.

Both Zinser and Grant Gullett finished with an even 10 points in the contest. Gullett shot 5-of-6 from the field, while Zinser hit 4-of-8, including 2-of-5 from distance. Saturday’s win over Pace was the fourth consecutive game with Gullett and Zinser both finishing with double-digit scoring.

Matthew Johnson and Michael Stones each were a bucket shy of double-digits, as they each finish with eight points on the night. Stones also added five assists on the afternoon, leading the Sailfish in the game. Johnson finished with four boards and a pair of assists.

Making his first career start Saturday, Trey Koonce hit a perfect 2-for-2 from the field for four points, while also snagging three rebounds.

The Setters were led by Peyton Wejnert’s 21 points, while Ryan Peterson and Ray Montilus finished with 19 and 18, respectively.

The Sailfish shot 54.4 (37-of-68) percent on the night, connecting on 32.1 (9-of-28) percent from downtown. The ‘Fish also capitalized on forcing 15 total Pace turnovers resulting in 19 Sailfish points.

PBA returns to action after Christmas as they head to St. Leo, Fla. to take on Saint Leo University on Friday, Dec. 30, with a scheduled tip-off of 7:30 p.m.

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