Pit Bulls edge Skyrockets in overtime
San Jose, CA. The ABA Florida Pit Bulls (13-4) overcame a 15-point deficit in the second quarter to rally for a 106-103 overtime win against the powerful San Jose Skyrockets (14-4) at the San Jose Civic Auditorium in a cross country battle. Both teams lead their respective divisions and appeared to be equally matched for most of the game. Florida arrived coming off a win over the previously undefeated Indiana Alley Cats. The fans came to see ex-NBA star Tim Hardaway lead the Pit Bulls and he did just that. Hardaway shot only 9-25 from the field but sank six 3-point shots to finish the game with 27 points while playing 36 minutes. Andre Smith added 26.
It looked as if the Skyrockets might have an easy time of it as they led 37-29 after the first quarter and 62-47 at the half. The third quarter saw San Jose lead by as many as ten points but could not deliver the knockout blow. Florida hung in and trailed 80-73 going into the exciting fourth period. Both teams socred clutch baskets throughout the quarter. Hardaway sank a 3-point shot with 2:40 to play to tie the score at 99. With the score tied at 101 and 6 seconds remaining, Hardaway had a chance to win the game but missed a 15-foot jump shot. A desperation follow-up 3 pointer missed at the buzzer to send the game into a three-minute overtime - part of the ABA's unique 3-10 and Out overtime rule.
Terrance Shelman made a 3-point play to begin the overtime and put Florida ahead 104-101. San Jose had opportunities to tie the game but free throws were their downfall when they missed two key one and one opportunities. They had two field goal opportunities to tie or win the game in the final 11 seconds but couldn't pull it out.
Jason Smith scored 26 points on 11-20 shooting for San Jose. Rock Winston contributed 18. Florida's pressure defense caused 25 turnovers for San Jose. The two teams met again Saturday night at 530pm - and then head to Florida for games next Monday and Tuesday. For more information, visit www.sjskyrockets.com or www.abalive.com.
Note: OurSports Central no longer actively covers the American Basketball Association (ABA) as a professional league due in part to its inability to publish and play a schedule and the transitory nature of many of its teams. For information on professional minor leagues, please see OSC's basketball section.
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