Sunday, December 13, 2009
Central Florida 95, Palm Beach 83 (MBB)
Central Florida closed out the JuCo Shootout on Sunday with another gritty win over a tough opponent, beating Palm Beach 95-83. The Patriots have now won three straight games and improve to 11-3 overall.
The Panthers hung around much like they did Saturday night against Chipola, but CF was efficient in rebuilding its lead each time Palm Beach drew to within a single possession. The Patriot shooters hit shots early and often, including 12-for-23 from 3-point range and a remarkable 58% from the field overall. The Panthers nearly matched the shooters' output as guards Andrew Ferry (31 points) and Paul Hagler (27) poured in jumpers, but Palm Beach lacked the balance provided by an inside scoring threat.
As usual, Ricardo Ratliffe had that job covered for the Patriots. The 6-9 power forward led the team with 26 points on 9-for-14 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers. Travis Johnson scored 19, Victor Jackson 12 and Justin Cecil and Kenny Williams 11 apiece to join him in double figures. Jeff Neal added 7 points and 13 rebounds.
Johnson in particular set an early course for the Patriots, hitting all four of his 3-point attempts in the first half and his only attempt after halftime. The Gainesville-bred point guard has carved out a productive role for himself, as he discusses in the video above, and is playing with a lot of confidence.
The Patriots host IMG Academy in an exhibition game on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.