No. 18 St. Thomas (Fla.) Downs No. 7 Northwood (Fla.), 94-91
By: Philip De Montmollin, St. Thomas (Fla.) Sports Information Director
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Just four days following a win over top-ranked Embry-Riddle (Fla.) St. Thomas (Fla.) went on the road again to defeat another of the nation's elite, this time taking care of no. 7 Northwood (Fla.) 94-91 in West Palm Beach. With the win, the Bobcats improved to 14-4 overall and took over first place in The Sun Conference with a 7-1 conference record. The win was just the second all-time for STU vs. Northwood and snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Seahawks.
The Bobcats have been perfect on the road this season with a 7-0 record in away games, including wins in last two outings against highly ranked Northwood and Embry-Riddle.
Senior guard Floyd Battle, the reigning NAIA National Division II Men's Basketball Player of the Week, led all scorers with 28 points, including two critical free throws with just 11 seconds remaining that stretched the lead to three points. At the line, Battle shot 11-of-13 free throws, a percentage bettered only by senior forward Davorn Bryant who went 12-of-13 from the stripe. As a team, the Bobcats hit 29 of 36 (80.6%) free throw attempts, including 20-of-25 (80.0%) in the second half.
Bryant finished with 22 points, while Demonte' Simpson recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Demetris Allen provided an offensive spark with 12 points. The three players combined to give the Bobcats a 49-15 advantage over the Seahawks in bench points.
St. Thomas built a 51-43 lead at halftime with Allen and Battle both scoring in double figures in the first half. Northwood came out of the intermission with a 10-2 run that tied the game at 53-53. Another scoring run by NU came midway through the second half culminating with a 73-63 Seahawk advantage with 9:36 to play. The Bobcats kept the difference in single digits and chipped away via success at the free throw line and a few key interior buckets by Bryant and Simpson.
A layup by Bryant with 2:24 left to play tied the game up once again with the score 86-86. The lead see-sawed back and forth until Battle took over the game on the offensive end. Battle scored STU's last eight points in the final 90 seconds on five-for-five free throw shooting and one made three-pointer.
Next up for St. Thomas is a home game vs. Ave Maria on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Fernandez Family Center. A rematch vs. Northwood is scheduled for Feb. 19 in the regular season home finale for the Bobcats.