FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – No. 5 Nova Southeastern last loss on Jan. 8 at Lynn. The second meeting with the Fighting Knights was a whole different story, however, as Mark Matthews poured in a game-high 31 points to lead a 59.7 percent-shooting effort by the Sharks in an eventual 104-71 rout in front of the home crowd at the Rick Case Arena. Head coach Jim Crutchfield‘s club raced out to a 17-point cushion at halftime and never looked back in a ball game the Sharks completely controlled for the final 30 minutes.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Score: No. 5 Nova Southeastern 104, Lynn 71
Records: No. 5 Nova Southeastern (19-2, 13-2 SSC), Lynn (9-12, 5-10 SSC)
Location: Rick Case Arena | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Get Social: Twitter – @NSU_MBasketball | Instagram – @NSU_MBasketball
HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | Neither side led by more than three points until the 13-minute mark when Jake Maranville found Nick Smith for a transition three-pointer to give NSU a 17-12 advantage. Two of Matthews’ 21 first-half points extended the margin to eight, and soon grew to 28-19 after Connor Zinaich fed RJ Sunahara for an easy two-handed slam. The lead reached a dozen with 6:18 remaining following back-to-back treys by Mikkel Kolstad and Eddie Puisis. Lynn would narrow the gap back to single digits, yet Matthews would counter with six straight points down the stretch before a Maranville driving finish in the closing moments sent NSU into intermission comfortably ahead 50-33.
2nd Half | As if 58.3 percent shooting the first half wasn’t good enough, the Sharks added to the onslaught by converting 61.1 percent of their attempts after the break. Building upon its 8-2 spurt prior to halftime, NSU tallied six unanswered points out of the locker room to stretch the cushion to 56-33. Puisis drilled a three off a dish from Smith to make it a 68-43 contest with 15:19 still to play. The advantage then grew to 27 after Kolstad buried a wide-open triple on a drive-and-kick from Matt Weir. Well in command, Lukas Speidel stepped off the bench and drilled two three’s in a span of 1:25 to polish off the Knights with the lead hitting 96-64 with a little over four minutes left in the ball game.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
- NSU led for the final 33:44 of the contest on Wednesday.
- The Sharks were right at their points-per-game average of 104.1, and have now topped the 100-point plateau a total of 12 times this season.
- The Sharks’ 59.7 percent shooting night comes after being held to a season-low 37.7 percent from the floor in the season’s first meeting against the Knights.
- NSU remains a half game back of Florida Southern in the win column for the top spot in the Sunshine State Conference race.
STATS OF THE NIGHT:
- Matthews recorded 21 of his 31 points in the first half Wednesday, and has now scored in double figures in 17 straight games. The redshirt senior also notched a game-high six assists in the effort.
- Sunahara continued his strong play over the past few weeks by finishing with 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
- Kolstad and Maranville tallied 13 points apiece on a combined 11-of-17 shooting.
- Puisis topped all bench scorers with 12 points, including a perfect 4-for-4 night from beyond the arc.
- NSU bullied the Knights on the glass, outrebounding Lynn by a margin of 41-23.
- The Sharks limited Lynn to just 5-of-22 shooting from deep.
In what expects to go a long way in deciding the SSC regular season title, NSU will host No. 6 Florida Southern this Saturday as part of ESPN3’s NCAA Division II Basketball Showcase. For complete coverage of the action, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Twitter @NSU_MBasketball.
— NSU Men’s Basketball (@NSU_MBasketball) February 13, 2020