FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Ignited by Eddie Puisis’ 4-for-4 shooting effort from beyond the arc in the second half, No. 3 Nova Southeastern turned a tightly contested ball game into an eventual 89-72 win over Sunshine State Conference opponent Lynn on Wednesday inside the Rick Case Arena. The victory moves the Sharks to 13-0 on the season, setting the record for the best start in program history, as well as the longest win streak overall.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Score: No. 3 Nova Southeastern 89, Lynn 72
Records: No. 3 Nova Southeastern (13-0, 7-0 SSC), Lynn (8-4, 2-4 SSC)
Location: Rick Case Arena | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | As a result of a combination of fouls, turnovers and missed shots, the Sharks were never truly able to find their rhythm in the first half, allowing the Fighting Knights to hang around. A Sekou Sylla reverse finish early on pushed NSU out to a 9-4 advantage. The five-point cushion remained after Nick Smith found RJ Sunahara in transition for a two-handed slam. Lynn would find itself down just three, though, at the 9:00 mark before an 8-0 run would help the Fighting Knights regain a 28-26 lead with 5:42 left in the first half. Lynn still clung to a one-point edge with a little over two minutes to play until Lukas Speidel buried a three-pointer to spark a 9-0 spurt that spanned a mere 1:15. Using its defensive pressure to feed the offense, consecutive buckets by RJ Sunahara all the sudden opened up a 42-34 lead. Still, the Fighting Knights would respond with the final four points of the half, including a Cameron Gaines jumper with 23 seconds showing, to make it a 42-38 contest heading into the break.
2nd Half | Puisis provided a much-needed spark for the Sharks at the start of the second half, draining a trio of triples within the opening 3:10 to help NSU build a 54-42 cushion – its largest to that point. As part of an ensuing 12-0 run, Smith found Sylla in transition to extend the margin to 61-46 before Puisis canned his fourth trey in as many attempts to further the lead to 66-46 with 11:44 to go. A pull-up jumper by Smith from the win kept NSU comfortably ahead 76-52 just under the midway mark in the half. The Sharks would be held scoreless for the next 3:48, yet a drought-ending lay-in by Sunahara still had NSU on top by 19 nearing the five-minute mark, Kobe Rodgers would take an intercepted pass the other way for an easy two to push the lead back out to 82-60, giving way to Smith, who would eventually provide the finishing touches with a three-point play in the final minute to secure NSU’s 7-0 start in SSC action.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
- All seven of NSU’s SSC wins have come by an average of 19.3 points per game.
- Puisis’ five three-point makes mark a season-high, giving him 19 combined over the last six games.
STATS OF THE NIGHT:
- Sunahara led four NSU players in double-figure scoring with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting.
- Smith finished the night with 16 points, eight assists and five steals.
- Rodgers matched Smith with five steals of his own.
- NSU turned the ball over just nine times, while forcing Lynn into 22 turnovers on the defensive end.
- The Sharks limited the Fighting Knights to just 3-of-16 shooting from beyond the arc.
NSU will travel to Winter Park, Fla. to take on Rollins this Saturday at 4 p.m. For complete coverage of the action, visit the schedule page on NSUSharks.com or follow the Sharks on Twitter @NSU_MBasketball.