JACKSONVILLE, Florida — The University of The Bahamas (UB) Mingoes men’s basketball team was on the verge of winning both games at the Edward Waters College (EWC) Thanksgiving Classic but just could not seal the deal in either game. The Mingoes lost to Florida National Friday, 110-102, and then dropped one to the host EWC Tigers on Saturday, 75-69.
“We were right there in both games,” UB Head Coach Bacchus Rolle said. “We just have to close out games when we are right there but that comes with age and experience and we have to work on that.”
Florida National 110, Mingoes 102
Kemsy Sylvestre scored a career-high 41 points against Florida National and that was not enough to put them over the top, as the Mingoes had a number of transitional lapses late in the game.
Sylvestre shot 16-for-25 for the 41 points and added 10 rebounds, five steals, and four assists as the Mingoes lost, 110-102.
Three other Mingoes scored in double figures, and the team made a run with about three minutes to go in the game. Off a lay-up from Sylvestre, the game was tied at 102 with 1:32 to go in regulation but Florida National was able to hold off the Mingoes for the win.
“I did okay for the team but not enough to get the win,” Sylvestre said. “It would have been better if we had won and I had the 41 points. We were right in the game but we came up short in the last minute of the game.”
Robert Joseph had four three-pointers and scored 20 points for the Mingoes. Rashad Sturrup scored 14 to go along with nine rebounds and Ujamma Johnson had 11 points and five assists in the loss.
Assistant Coach Lavar Johnson chalked up the loss to problems with the team’s transitional defense.
“Florida National moved the ball pretty quick, getting up and down the floor and in transition we slipped a little bit,” he said. Sylvestre agreed with Johnson. “We had problems there. We just couldn’t find our man. We just couldn’t get our defensive rebounds at times as well,” he said.
The Mingoes then went on to play the host EWC Tigers on Saturday.
Edward Waters 75, Mingoes 69
The Mingoes led by as much as 13 points against the Tigers but foul problems with three starters was a big stumbling block for them. They couldn’t hold off a late surge by the Tigers and ended up falling 75-69 in a game that had six lead changes. The loss closed out the tournament for the Mingoes.
Robert Joseph scored 21 points to go with seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. Kemsy Sylvestre – fighting a flu – had 20 points and seven rebounds. Christoff McKenzie scored 11 points and had five rebounds in the loss.
Sylvestre started the second half with four fouls and Joseph had four fouls with just about 10 minutes to go in regulation. Rashad Sturrup also picked up his fourth foul with about four minutes to go in the game. All of them are significant scorers and leaders on the court for the Mingoes.
“In the second half we just lost our composure and we were just going through the motions,” Joseph said. “We just didn’t have the same intensity we had in the first half.”
UB Head Coach Bacchus Rolle said the team might have been a bit fatigued in the game.
“This is back-to-back and very rarely do we get to go back-to-back and we are trying to adjust,” Rolle said. “Starters had to play heavy minutes last night and had to come out tonight and play some heavy minutes. We saw where Sylvestre got in foul problems and he had to come in late in the second half. At that point, it’s difficult to get the cohesion back.”
Rolle added that the squad did as best it could this early in the season.
“The guys did their very best,” he said. “We were there but we just didn’t execute at the very end of the games. We have to stay in control at the end of games but that comes with age and experience.”
The Mingoes next play in New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA). They will take on the Bahamas Institute of Business & Technology Great Whites at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, and will play another international two-game set in December.