HIALEAH, Fla. (Jan. 16, 2024) – Florida National University’s men’s basketball team fell short of the mark against a resilient New College of Florida team on the road. The Conquistadors (4-11) had a five-point lead with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, quickly erased by a tenacious Banyan (4-11) squad eager for a win. The 70-68 victory was the first in program history for NCF in its first head-to-head against Florida National.
In the first half, a shorthanded FNU team had a comfortable 36-28 lead heading into halftime thanks to 12 points from Jovan Debrito. Gary Adams and Ray Daniel Parrish combined for 14 in the frame as FNU outrebounded NCF 19-12. Both teams struggled with turnovers as the Conquistadors had five in the half while NCF coughed up the ball eight times. Banyan Schuyler Pimentel was electric with 11 points and one board.
When play resumed in the second, NCF outscored the Conquistadors 42-32 for the comeback win. FNU led for the majority of the frame before NCF scored five unanswered points to make it a 53-50 game with 11:10 on the clock. Both teams continued to battle before scores from Adams and Debrito put FNU in front 68-61 with under two minutes left to play.
What followed was an untimely scoring drought for the Conquistadors where NCF used their shot-making ability to cut FNU’s lead to three and force a timeout. As Debrito looked to break NCF’s pressure and avoid the incoming trap, he made an ill-advised backward pass into the waiting hands of Pimentel. This led to a made layup from Jordan Clark where he was fouled by Matias Montezuma. Clark’s made free throw tied the game at 68.
Adams took a shot on the other end that missed the mark and a crafty layup from Shawn Lefresne set up by solid ball movement from the Banyans earned them a 70-68 lead with seconds left on the clock. Debrito had an open look from three that rimmed out at the buzzer, as the Banyans exited their home court victorious.
Debrito ended the night with 20 points while Adams and Parrish combined for 29 points.
Up Next: Florida College visits FNU on Jan 19 at 7 p.m.