University of Tampa Claims Comeback Victory Over PBA

Written By: Michael Brown, PBA Sports Information Director

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team welcomed in the University of Tampa on Wednesday evening for a mid-week showdown at the Rubin Arena. After the Fish went up by as many as 18 points in the first-half, the Spartans regrouped, connected on some long-range attempts, and held on late for a 66-61 win over PBA.

Jumping out to a quick start, it appeared as if Palm Beach Atlantic (2-18) would be primed for a big upset of the visiting Spartans as the Rubin Arena crowd on hand saw the home team lead 30-12 through the first 14:42 of the first-half as a jumper by junior Hunter Ross gave the Sailfish their biggest lead of the half.

Even after the Spartans (9-8) would begin their comeback, the Blue and White would still remain on top by double-digits entering halftime as they led 36-23 going into the break. The Sailfish scorched the nets the first-half of play as they missed just seven shots (16-23) and went into the lockeroom at halftime shooting just under 70% (69.6). On the other side, Tampa was limited to a 42% mark and brought down just six rebounds in the half.

The second-half began with a quick 5-0 run for UT and saw the first of six three-pointers from UT sharp-shooter Callum Townsend find the bottom of the net as his teammates found him time-and-time again on the wing. It was Townsend’s three-pointer with 13:43 remaining in the ballgame that saw UT take the lead at 38-37, a lead they would never relinquish.

The Spartans continued to pile on points from there including the one-man wrecking crew of guard Rashad Callaway who carried his team to the win via his excellent ball-handling and his abilities to get to the free-throw line. The junior Bayonne, New Jersey native tied with Townsend for the team-lead with 20 points while adding in eight assists and four steals and playing all 40 minutes. Callaway was 11-of-14 from the charity stripe.

Callaway’s trey with 10:57 remaining placed the Spartans advantage into double-figures and it would appear that Tampa would potentially run away with the win. That wasn’t the case however as the Sailfish continued to battle until the final whistle.

In fact, the Sailfish cut the lead all the way back to only one point with 42 seconds remaining when senior DeAndre Williams sunk a long two-point jumper that cut the UT lead to 62-61.

With the final seconds closing down, Callaway connected on all four free-throw attempts while Sailfish senior Chris Joseph’s three-point shot attempt missed with four seconds left as he hoped to tie the game with a triple.

All five PBA starters reached double-figures for PBA with Williams leading the balanced attack with 16 points on 4-of-7 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line. Jonathan Lawrence added in 12 points and Hunter Ross 11 points while Joseph finished with 10 points.

Junior center David Gabriel had one of his best overall outings for the Sailfish this season with 10 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks in 29 minutes.

The Sailfish bench managed just two points on a basket by freshman guard Mike Wells.

Townsend finished with 20 points to back Callaway’s performance as Townsend sunk 6-of-9 three-point attempts while adding in four rebounds.

PBA won the rebounding battle with a 26-23 edge while UT forced the Fish into 20 turnovers while they themselves made 15 miscues.

Palm Beach Atlantic will be taking on another Sunshine State Conference opponent in their next outing as they welcome in Eckerd College on Saturday, January 30th for a PBA-EC basketball double-header. The women’s teams suit up at 3 p.m. while the men take the court at approximately 5 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live via the Sailfish Sports Network.

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