FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Currently ranked No. 4 in the nation, the Nova Southeastern men’s basketball is certainly making its case as the top team in NCAA Division II. Two days after taking down 15th-ranked Barry on the road, the Sharks followed up the performance by rolling past No. 18 Embry-Riddle by a final score of 93-71 Sunday evening inside the Rick Case Arena. Sekou Sylla posted another notable effort, finishing with 28 points and 10 boards in 25 minutes, while RJ Sunahara added 21 points to leave the Sharks as the lone remaining unbeaten in Sunshine State Conference play.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Score: No. 4 Nova Southeastern 93, No. 18 Embry-Riddle 71
Records: No. 4 Nova Southeastern (12-0, 6-0 SSC), No. 18 Embry-Riddle (11-3, 4-1 SSC)
Location: Rick Case Arena | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | The Sharks set the tone for what was to come from the opening tip, tallying the game’s first six points after Nick Smith set up Sylla underneath for an easy, two-handed dunk. NSU remained in front 14-10 after a Sylla tap-out resulted in a Sunahara three-pointer from the top of the key. The lead soon grew to seven on the ensuing possession when Eddie Puisis connected from nearly the same spot with 14:38 remaining, and would hit double-digits after the lefty hit another trey less than two minutes later. Kobe Rodgers kept the Sharks up 10 with his second three of the half at the 8:55 mark, yet Embry-Riddle hung around following a 6-0 spurt that trimmed the margin to 40-33. NSU found plenty of success on the inside, accounting for 42 points in the paint, and would stretch the advantage back out to 47-35 thanks to a finish at the rim by Shane Hunter. Puisis continued the impressive first half, making a driving floater off the glass by to expand the cushion to 52-35 with 1:26 to go. Moments later, Sylla converted a three-point play on a great seal inside to extend the lead to its largest of the half at 19 before the Sharks eventually entered the break on top 56-38.
2nd Half | NSU was never truly threatened, with ERAU only getting as close as 13 the rest of the way. Sylla kept the Sharks comfortably ahead by 15 after sinking a jumper from the foul line early on in the second half. A driving finish by Smith moved the advantage back to 18 still with 13:16 to go before Sunahara then found a cutting Sylla for an easy two to make it a 20-point ball game. Already leading 66-52 with 15:22 showing on the clock, the Sharks held the Eagles scoreless for a whopping 8:26, as an extended 17-0 run ballooned the margin all the way out to 83-52 with a little over seven minutes remaining en route to the commanding victory.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
- NSU has now started 12-0 in two of its last three seasons.
- The Sharks have held each of their past two opponents – both ranked – to less than 40 percent shooting.
- NSU has won 11 of its 12 contests this season by 11 points or more.
STATS OF THE NIGHT:
- Sunday marked the seventh double-double of the season for Sylla, who leads the SSC in scoring at 24.3 ppg.
- NSU held ERAU leading scorer Elijah Jenkins scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting in 24 minutes of action.
- After yielding 16 points to ERAU’s Romeo Crouch in the first half, the Sharks limited the Eagles point guard to just two points on 0-of-4 from the field after the break.
- Puisis and Rodgers joined both Sylla and Sunahara in double figures, chipping in with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
- Smith collected nine rebounds and eight assists in the win.
NSU will look to remain unbeaten when it welcomes Lynn to the Rick Case Arena this Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. For complete coverage of the action, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Twitter @NSU_MBasketball.