January 2, 2010 Contact: Scott Jamison 352.395.5616 email@example.com
SF MEN’S BASKETBALL
SAINTS LOSE NAIL BITER TO NJCAA #18 SHELTON STATE, 81-78
Gainesville, FL – The Santa Fe Saints (9-7) hung with one of the best teams in the country on Saturday afternoon, falling in the final minutes to the #18 ranked team in the nation, the Shelton State Community College Buccaneers (13-1).
“This was a tough loss but a very hard fought game,” said Coach Chris Mowry. “We did a lot of good things today and played very hard. Shelton deserves a lot ofcredit. Their guys battled and their two leading scorers (Sterling Jones and Courtney Carr) did a good job scoring and rebounding in the second half.”
In a game that saw seven lead changes and seven ties, neither team was able to establish a comfortable lead in either half.
Chris Baez got the scoring started with two straight three pointers to open the game and a 6-0 Saints lead. Shelton answered back and went on a 14-5 run to take their first lead of the game 14-11.
The Buccaneers continued to control the tempo, pushing the margin to double digits, 21-11, with 14:31 to go. Altavious Carter (pictured) stopped the Shelton run with a three point shot and SF went on an 18-5 run of their own to move back into the lead, 29-25.
Santa Fe closed the half with another Carter three pointer and two point baskets by Marlon Rivera, Igor Premasunac and Iran Hollis to take a 45-36 lead into the break.
Down by nine to start the second period, Shelton’s leading scorer Sterling Jones took the game into his own hands, scoring 14 points in the first five minutes to lift the Bucs back into the lead, 54-52.
After two free throws by Carter, Branimir Mikulic made a three point shot from the corner to push the Saints ahead 57-54.
Both teams continued to fight down the stretch, with Shelton taking a three point lead with 23 seconds to go. Marlon Rivera hit a driving lay-up for SF to cut the score to 77-76 but that’s as close as the Saints would get as the Bucs made two free throws and a lay-up at the buzzer to secure the three point win.
“We gave ourselves a chance to win down the stretch, but came up just short,” said Mowry. “We missed some open shots and that’s something you can’t do against a team the caliber of Shelton.”
Chris baez led Santa Fe in scoring with 16 and four other Saints scored in double figures. Altavious Carter finished with 15, Igor Premasunac 14, Iran Hollis 12 and Chad Renfro 10.
“We had some nice balance today in our scoring,” said Mowry. “We moved the ball well and our players took advantage of the scoring opportunities that were available.”
The Saints next game will be on the road at State College of Florida-Manatee/Bradenton on January 6 at 7:00pm.