Sports Contact: J.T. Wilcox, Sports Information Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2018
HIALEAH, FL – It's not about who starts, it's about who finishes – and more importantly, how they finish.
ASA Miami got some huge sparks off its bench – to the tune of 67 total bench points – including career nights from freshmen Jonathan Vilchez and Kareem Lightbourne Jr. to power a 91-77 victory over visiting Florida Gateway College Friday night at The Dent.
The Silver Storm (2-7), who will be back in action Saturday (Dec. 1) afternoon against Victory Rock Prep (2 p.m.), did have to hold off a rally attempt from Florida Gateway, who cut down an 11-point ASA lead to just three with just over five minutes to play. But the Silver Storm responded with a run of their own, pushing their lead back out by forcing the Coyotes into turnovers and hitting timely shots.
ASA Miami head coach Jean Dubuisson said his team made a handful of adjustments for Florida Gateway, having lost 77-71 to the Coyotes less than two weeks ago.
"We did a lot of things differently tonight…both offensively and defensively," Dubuisson said. "We wanted to slow ourselves down and run some of our sets while at the same time speeding them up and force them into turnovers and run them off of the three-point line. Plus, we were able to knock down shots tonight and got good efforts from multiple players."
Florida Gateway (5-5) shot just 32 percent from the three-point line and committed 21 turnovers.
For the Silver Storm, Vilchez extended his streak of posting double-digit points to six consecutive games, finishing with a career-high 25 points Friday – including a thunderous slam dunk during the second half that brought the near-capacity crowd to its feet. Over the past six games, the Davie Western High School alum has averaged a team-best 17.5 points and set new career highs in points twice during that span. Vilchez also finished with five boards and a team-high three steals.
While Vilchez continued his hot streak, Lightbourne snapped his cold streak. Since putting up 16 points in the team's season-opener, the freshman point guard had fallen into a bit of a slump, he only scored 13 total points in the following seven games – including four scoreless games. The Nassau, Bahamas native, who was able to play in front of a small group of his family Friday who was in Florida for the holidays, played with new confidence – coming off the bench to knock down a pair of three-pointers to help pace the Silver Storm. Lightbourne ended up going 3-of-5 from three-point range Friday, while finishing with career-best 17 points along with five rebounds and a steal.
ASA's "bench mob" was also powered by Sebastian Jean, who was recently moved up to the Silver Storm's varsity roster from its developmental team. "Sebby" was a steadying hand, finishing with 11 points, dishing out eight assists, and grabbing five rebounds. Jaryn McCann also added 9 points and 6 rebounds off the bench.
The Silver Storm did get a solid performance from one of its starters. 6-foot-8 freshman Levard Missick Jr. – back in the starting lineup after missing the past five games with a concussion – played 35 minutes and was a force in the lane, notching an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double. He also recorded a game-high four blocks.
"Having [Levard] back was huge," Dubuisson said. "I didn't want to play him so many minutes tonight, but he was making a big impact on both ends. And that's what we missed while he was out – his ability to score, defend and rebound…he's a stat stuffer."
Up Next: The Silver Storm are in the midst of a four-game home stand. ASA Miami will take on Victory Rock Prep Saturday, followed by a tilt against Advance Prep Academy on December 3, and a December 4 showdown against Eastern Florida State College.