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Manchester Comes Back From 18-Point Deficit, Force A Decisive Game 3

April 5, 2009 - Premier Basketball League (PBL) News Release

Rochester, NY - The Manchester Millrats turned an 18 point deficit in the third quarter to a six point, 116-110 victory to force Game 3 in the PBL Semifinals. The RazorSharks lost for just the second time at home this year and second time in the past 58 home games. The Millrats were led by Desmond Ferguson's 21 points to go along with four other players in double figures. Keith Friel led the RazorSharks and all scorers with 27 points. The decisive Game 3 will be on Tuesday, April 7th at 7:05pm in Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena. The winner will advance to the PBL Finals against the winner of the Wilmington Sea Dawgs and Battle Creek Knights semifinal.

Manchester came out in the first playing tough defense with their playoff lives on the line and kept the game close taking an early four point lead. With 6:51 remaining in the opening quarter down 14-10 with the shot clock under five, Keith Friel hit a fade away 3-pointer and was fouled in the process on his way to complete the four-point play to tie it up.

The entire quarter went back and forth with ten lead changes and Rochester closed out the first with a 31-29 lead after Friel hit his fourth 3-pointer of the quarter. Friel led all scorers with 15 points.

The second quarter started with a different story as the RazorSharks went on a 10-0 run to jump out to a 41-29 lead with just 1:40 into the quarter after a 3-pointer from Derik Hollyfield. The rest of the quarter was not for the faint of heart with plenty of rough play between the two teams. With 2:21 left in the half, Manchester took advantage of a technical foul on Lincoln Smith and turned a ten point Rochester lead to pull within five. Despite the Millrats push, the RazorSharks closed out the first half with a seven point, 63-56 lead. First half leading scorers included Friel with 17 points and Manchester's Desmond Ferguson with 12 points.

The Millrats held a slight higher shooting percentage in the first half, but thanks to ten 3-pointers, the RazorSharks were able to go into the half with the seven point lead.

Manchester came out in the third sinking a 3-pointer, but a technical foul, this time by the Millrats, Marc Mazur, allowed Keith Friel to make both free throws to extend Rochester's lead to eight. The technical foul was the 'Sharks catalyst for an 11-0 run with 8:12 left in the quarter to take a 74-59 lead.

With an 18 point lead, Rochester fell into a trap of taking poor shots and combined with Manchester's number one defense, the Millrats went on a 16-3 run to pull within five, 83-78 with 3:29 to play in the quarter. The rest of the quarter was back and forth and the RazorSharks were able to hold on to a slim five point lead, 91-87.

The Millrats came out in the fourth quarter the same way they did in the third with a 3-pointer, but this time a steal and a basket by Al Stewart, Manchester took back the lead, 92-91 for the first time since 1:09 left in the first quarter. The Millrats started on a 7-0 run to take a 94-91 lead with 10:26 remaining. The RazorSharks were able to tie it up at 96 after a free throw from Steve Hailey with just over six minutes remaining.

Manchester continued to show why they have the league's top defense down the stretch and took back the lead up by six, 106-100 with 4:02 remaining. But with 2:13 remaining, Sammy Monroe made a steal and forced a foul to tie it up after making one of two from the line. Despite back-to-back defensive holds by Rochester, Manchester's Desmond Ferguson hit a 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining to take a 111-108 lead. Rochester had some chances to come back with James Reaves getting to the free throw line, but missed both baskets and Lincoln Glass' steal with nine seconds left virtually closed out the game as Manchester finished off the 116-110 victory.

Notes: Rochester made only three of 16 from beyond the arc in the second half which proved to be the difference maker after shooting ten of 15 in the first. Manchester finished with 13 steals with several coming down the stretch when they needed them the most.

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