ST. PETERSBURG - Ricky Pena and Marquis Ford combined to score 17 consecutive points to end the first half then delivered the decisive shots late to keep St. Petersburg unbeaten with a 67-60 victory against Dunedin on Tuesday.
Leading 18-14 early in the second quarter, the run by Pena and Ford gave the Green Devils a 35-23 lead. Dunedin (2-1) missed its first 11 shots of the second quarter, needing 6:33 to get its first basket.
"(Ford and Pena) might be the best backcourt in the county," Dunedin coach Kevin Hendrick said. "That six-minute drought in the second quarter killed us."
After making 7 of 11 shots in the second quarter, St. Petersburg (3-0) cooled off in the third, and the Falcons roared back.
They got within 44-38 before Ford and Pena scored consecutive baskets, but they surged a second time.
Scoring 11 consecutive points behind 3-pointers by Sajuddeen El-Amin and Evin Hamm and a steal and score by Justin Glenn, the Falcons made it 52-51 with 6:40 left.
But a minute later, Ford was fouled, and a technical was called against Jarrod Graham. That gave the Green Devils four free throws (Ford made them all) and the ball (leading to a basket by Brian Blakely).
Ford then stole the inbounds pass, got fouled and made two more free throws to give the Green Devils a 64-51 cushion.