Mingoes fight back to take down the Rockets, stay undefeated

University of The Bahamas (UB) Mingoes guard Robert Joseph could not be stopped against the Discount Distributor Rockets in New Providence Basketball Association (NBPA) Division I action Saturday night at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium.

Joseph connected on six three-pointers on his way to putting up 32 points to lead all scorers as the Mingoes held onto the only undefeated record in the Vince Ferguson Division in NPBA play. They defeated the Rockets, 82-80.

Kemsy Sylvestre scored 15 and added 11 boards. Christoph McKenzie scored eight points.

Rashad Sturrup led all rebounders with 14 on the night for the Mingoes. Ujamma Johnson led all in the assists category with nine.

The Mingoes remain undefeated with a 4-0 win-loss record in NPBA Division I play and lead their division. The only other undefeated team in the league is the Commonwealth Bank Giants, in the next division, at 3-0. The Rockets pick up their first loss on the season, falling to 3-1.

Georgio Walkes led the Rockets with 23 points in the loss. Cordero Pinder added 18.

The match-up was full of action with nine ties and eight lead changes.

With 5:04 to go in the second quarter, Devon Ferguson hit a three pointer to put the Rockets up 11 (40-29). The Mingoes closed the gap, ending the half down by just six (45-39).

With 5:29 to go in the third and the Mingoes down 45-42, the Rockets picked up two consecutive technical fouls. Joseph connected on both free throws to pull the Mingoes to within one point (45-44).

On the inbounds pass, Ujamma Johnson hit Christoph McKenzie in the corner for three to give the Mingoes the lead, 47-45, with about five minutes to go in the quarter.

The Mingoes never trailed after that. Off a Romero Cornish steal, Joseph got a fast break lay-up to drop with 3:50 to go in the third to put the Mingoes up 13 – the largest lead of the game.

Joseph said the second half was where his team pulled everything together.

“We were playing kind of bad in the first half with a lot of turnovers,” he said. “In the second half we were able to gain our composure and make it a game and we were able to pull off the win. This game shouldn’t have been this close. All of us just started clicking offensively there at the end and our defense came around.”

Christoph McKenzie said his team came out with more of an attack mentality in the first half of the game. “In the first half we were trying to be more aggressive and we were getting called for the fouls,” he said. “We stayed more composed in the second half and that got us the win.”

McKenzie added that the team’s game plan was simple. “We listened to coach and we pushed and executed the plays,” he said. “We were pushing the ball hard as well.”

The Mingoes next play in NPBA at 9 p.m. on Saturday when they take on the Shockers. They will play another international two-game set in December.

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