Northwood University Hangs On for Exciting Win Over Sailfish at the Rubin
January 26, 2009
Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Welcoming in one of the largest crowds of the season to the Rubin Arena on Monday night, the Palm Beach Atlantic University and Northwood University men’s basketball teams gathered for a battle of West Palm Beach rivals. A close game throughout, the visiting Seahawks came out on top as they pulled away late for a 72-66 victory.
Led by four players in double-figures, the Seahawks (19-2) used a small number of players with only six receiving significant court time, but it was those six that led them to an impressive victory over the Fish.
Things started out hot for the Sailfish (8-13) as senior David Powell connected on the game’s opening possession for a long three-point bomb to put the Fish up early. Just 14 seconds later NU’s Lester Hunte would connect for a three-pointer of his own to knot the score early on.
PBA’s Jonathan Lawrence proved steady in the early going as he produced a three-point play followed by a jumper that gave PBA a 10-7 lead with 16:15 to play in the first-half. The Seahawks, who were without starting point guard Baree Ward who sat out with an injury, turned to freshman guard Noah Keeton who subsequently knotted the score at 10-10 with a three-pointer of his own.
Both teams traded baskets over the next few minutes until a 5-0 run by the Hawks gave them a 26-19 lead with 6:20 remaining. From that point, the Fish would regain control and finish out the half on 11-4 run highlighted by a three-pointer from Powell with under a minute remaining that gave the home-standing Fish a 31-30 halftime lead.
Powell led the first-half efforts for the Sailfish with 10 points while NU’s All-American forward DeSean White tallied 11 points to lead the Seahawks.
The beginning of the second-half appeared to belong to the Fish as they jumped ahead by as many as seven points when Lawrence layup at the 15:17 mark gave PBA a 39-32 advantage.
That lead would quickly disappear however as NU went on a 12-3 run over the next few minutes highlighted by the slashing offensive game of Hunte and the outside touch of Keeton.
Finding themselves cold from the field, PBA was held off the scoreboard for over six minutes as NU increased their lead to as many as 14 points when a pair of Seven Ezumba free-throws found the bottom of the net with exactly six minutes remaining in the ballgame.
Try as they might, the Sailfish would force their way back into contention with some key turnovers and get as close as five points after a Joe Kelly tip-in basket with 44 seconds left put the Fish behind 67-62.
The veteran Seahawks would make their free-throws down the stretch however as they escaped the Rubin Arena with a hard-fought 72-66 victory.
White led all scorers for NU as the 6’8” NCAA Division I transfer from Providence College scored 22 points on 8-of-17 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Averaging a double-double on the season, the physical and hard-nosed White did a great job on the boards all night as he pulled down game-high honors with 14 rebounds.
Adding to the offensive mix for Northwood was 18 points from Hunte who also tallied a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes. Keeton finished the ballgame with 16 points while Ezumba chipped in 11 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Much like their meeting last season at the Rubin Arena that witnessed the Sailfish shock the Seahawks with a 67-60 upset, PBA was led by guards Powell and Lawrence.
Powell finished the night with 19 points on 7-of-15 field-goals while Lawrence poured in 18 points. Powell led the squad on the glass as well with a season-high eight rebounds while Chris Joseph added in nine points and six rebounds. Senior Manny Lopez added in nine points off the bench.
An expected physical battle, the Sailfish were whistled for 25 fouls compared to that of only 11 for the visiting Seahawks which resulted in 29 free-throw trips for Northwood and 12 for PBA. The Sailfish were able to force the Seahawks into 16 turnovers while turning it over just nine times themselves.
Now 8-13 on the season, PBA will be back in action on Saturday as they will travel to the University of Tamp for a re-match from their previous meeting back in December. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.