Sports Contact: J.T. Wilcox, Sports Information Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2019
DAVIE, FL – ASA Miami forward Marko Jovanovic is nowhere near old enough to remember the 1970's TV sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter", but the show's catchy theme song would've been the perfect soundtrack for his performance in his first game back from injury Wednesday night as he dropped a career-high 24 points to lead the Silver Storm to a 90-71 victory over host Broward College.
The Silver Storm (4-13, 1-0 Southern Conference) had been without the 6-foot-8 Serbian since November 16 after he suffered a hand injury. Even though he missed a total of 11 games, he showed no signs of rust or ill-effects of the hand injury as he knocked down five three-pointers and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
ASA Miami head coach Jean Dubuisson said that getting Jovanovic back – coupled with the time off the entire team had thanks to the winter holidays – was exactly what his team needed.
"Getting Marko back means so much to this team," said Dubuisson, who gave his leading scorer a handshake and pat on the back with the words 'welcome back' when he subbed him out late in the second half.
"I think the time off with the injury allowed Marko to see the game differently and enabled him to play the game more relaxed because he wasn't stressing about how he was going to attack a defense – he was able to pick his spots well and get where he wanted to a lot easier. Honestly, I think the time off did a lot of good for the entire team. We needed a break. You can look at our schedule and see that we had been through the wringer and it had taxed us."
"But that's the reason I scheduled all those tough games because it sharpens us for what I call the second season – conference play. All of our games now mean so much and I think we're ready to start peaking," Dubuisson added.
Sometimes when such a dynamic player as Jovanovic returns, it may stymie or stunt the contributions of players that have stepped up in the absence. For the Silver Storm, it was the opposite. Freshman Jonathan Vilchez, who had been the team's leading scorer through the month of December, continued to show himself as a viable offensive option – scoring 20 points on an efficient 9-of-15 shooting while also nabbing a career-high seven steals, which tied him for the second-most in a game in program history.
ASA Miami built a 17-7 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game – thanks to the shooting of Jovanovic and Maturah – and expanded that lead to 40-22 by the halftime buzzer by going on a 15-1 run over the final five minutes of the first half.
The Silver Storm was able to cruise through the second half, essentially playing the Seahawks even over the final 20 minutes to pick up their first conference win of the season and snap a five-game losing streak.
Up Next: ASA Miami's men will return the practice court over the next two days before taking their home floor Saturday afternoon for another conference tilt against rival Miami Dade College at 4 p.m. at The Dent.