Botley Leads Fighting Knights to Comeback Victory
By: Michael Demyan
The Lynn University Fighting Knights narrowly captured a 70-68 victory over Saint Leo Wednesday night thanks to a game-winning three-pointer by senior point guard Marquan Botley with five seconds left.
The Fighting Knights built up a quick 20-11 lead in the first half before Saint Leo began to close the gap to within three points by halftime.
Saint Leo’s Necdet Gurkan quickly put on some more pressure to start off the second half by sinking a three-pointer. A steal by Tyreece Brice followed by a dunk from Antoine Tobias gave them their first lead of the night at 46-44.
Things started to look worse for the Fighting Knights as Saint Leo turned that hot start into a 13-2 run. Terrell Rogers finally got them back on the scoreboard, making one of two free throw attempts after being fouled by Malik Fuller.
The Saint Leo lead began to slowly shrink and with just over four minutes left in the game, Botley made a three-pointer which put them back up 62-61. The game was far from over though as the lead continued to change hands with the minutes winding down.
The Fighting Knights were trailing 68-65 when Botley made a layup after an offensive rebound by Juwan Frazier.
With a one-point lead, Saint Leo’s Justin Satchell missed an attempted three-pointer. The ball was rebounded by the Fighting Knight’s Kevin O’Brien with 26 seconds left in the game to set them up for the final possession.
With 15 seconds left on the clock after a timeout, Allen Baez passed to Botley who made the game-winning three-pointer with five seconds remaining.
“Baez made a great play. I got open and I had a good look at the basket and it went in,” Botley said.
He finished the game with 21 points, including eight of the team’s final nine after struggling behind the arc at the beginning of the second half.
“My teammates and my coaches do a great job of keeping me encouraged and telling me to keep shooting,” he said. “If I don’t shoot it, you know, that’s when they get upset. Whether I make or miss, they just want me to shoot it.”
Baez had a career high of six rebounds and led the team with six assists. Vieux Kande also had a strong game, shooting 4-of-5 from the field and totaling 13 points.
For Saint Leo, Tobias led in scoring with 23 points after averaging just 3.7 points per game this season.
The win for the Fighting Knights is their seventh in eight games and pushes their record to 9-5. Their next matchup is at home today at 4 p.m. against Tampa.