Sailfish Get Back to Winning Ways with Home Victory over Florida Tech

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

DeAndre Williams (Pictured) Gave the Fish a Big Boost off the Bench on Tuesday Night Against Florida Tech with a Team-High 14 Points. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. DeAndre Williams (Pictured) Gave the Fish a Big Boost off the Bench on Tuesday Night Against Florida Tech with a Team-High 14 Points. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Led by a balanced scoring attack and a defensive minded approach, the Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team came away with a solid 67-56 victory over Florida Tech on Tuesday evening at the Rubin Arena. The victory pushes PBA’s overall record to 6-6 as they now look ahead to an important weekend slate.

The Fish received big performances from a number of sources against the Panthers as junior guard DeAndre Williams posted a team-high 14 points off the Sailfish bench. The junior college transfer connected on 5-of-8 shots from the field while complementing point guard Chris Joseph in the Fish backcourt.

Joseph put together a fantastic all-around outing as he came away with 10 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, and three steals in 36 minutes of court time. Sophomore Hunter Ross added in 13 points as the North Palm Beach native came off the Sailfish bench for just the second time this season and gave the Fish a big boost.

Florida Tech once again rode the strong performances of its standout freshman, forward Derek Hellemann and guard Simon Cummings. Hellemann, who entered the game averaging nearly 24 points per outing, hit 9-of-11 shots from the field while totaling a game-high 20 points.

Cummings led all scorers in the first-half with 14 points and finished with 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field. One of the most athletic guards the Fish have faced this season, Cummings was held to just four points in the second-half as he struggled to find his outside shot while finishing 3-of-11 from beyond the arc. FIT finished 4-of-20 from downtown as a team.

In the early going it would be FIT who would run up the score as they jumped out to a 23-13 lead that left the Fish searching for answers. Over the next five minutes or so the Fish would turn the tide and go on a 17-1 run and take the lead 30-24 at the 1:46 mark late in the first-half.

FIT close out the half with their own 5-0 run highlighted by a pair of Ryan Ballard free-throws and a three-pointer by Cummings as they trailed by just one at 30-29 entering halftime.

Despite their best efforts in the second-half, the Sailfish would struggle to put the Panthers away as the visiting red and black even went ahead briefly as a layup by Cummings at the 14:10 mark gave FIT a 39-38 lead.

The lead would change hands a few more times over the next few minutes a jumper by PBA’s Ross gave the Fish a 47-45 lead with 8:36 to play; a lead they would never relinquish.

PBA pushed their advantage to as many as 13 points down the stretch as FIT was forced to increase their three-point attempts to try and get back within striking distance.

In the end however, PBA remained disciplined in their half-court sets and rode out another important South Region victory. The win over FIT now pushes their record against Sunshine State opponents to 6-4.

Eckerd College enters West Palm Beach on Friday, December 19th as they will be thirsty for revenge after PBA took them down in St. Petersburg on a last second-shot earlier in the season. The women’s teams square off at 5 pm followed by a 7 pm match up for the men’s squads. 

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