Tampa Spartans Grind Out a Win Over Sailfish as the Defenses Prevail
November 16, 2011
Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic University men’s basketball team welcomed in another tough NCAA South Region opponent on Wednesday evening as the second act of Wednesday evening’s basketball double-header between PBA and the University of Tampa. With neither team able to get in an offensive flow for the majority of the night, the Spartans would hit enough free-throws down the stretch to hold on for a 53-48 win over the Fish.
Sailfish (0-2) head coach Terry Primm attempted to mix and match his lineup all night long in hopes of finding a hot hand however his team once again struggled to find their outside touch as the Fish sunk just one of their 21 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.
A total of 11 players would see court time for the Fish including eight players playing at least 10 minutes.
Palm Beach Atlantic finished with a shooting percentage of 27 percent (17-63) from the field while Tampa (1-1) proved to be only slightly better at 34 percent (16-47). With PBA outrebounding their opponent for the second straight game as they grabbed 49 boards compared to that of only 38 rebounds for the Spartans, it would be free-throws down the stretch by UT that sealed the win.
Tampa finished the night 18-of-28 from the charity stripe while Palm Beach Atlantic connected on 13-of-23 at the line.
The first-half featured four ties and each team holding a marginal lead at one point during the half as both teams entered the lockeroom with a 23-23 score.
Hoping to get some offense working in the second 20 minutes, the Spartans would be the ones to respond best as they finally took a lead for good with 9:25 remaining in the contest as Ashton Graham’s layup gave his squad a 39-37 lead.
The UT lead would grow to as many as seven points when Osby Kelly drained a 3-pointer with 4:49 to put his team on top by a 46-39 margin.
A tip-in basket by PBA’s Ian Sitz and a pair of Terrell Terry free-throws drew the Fish back within four points with 1:37 to play however the Fish could not net a game-tying score down the stretch as their best opportunity came with the clock under 10 seconds left in the game. Matthew Gierl’s 3-point heave would not find glory on this night as UT grabbed the rebound and closed out the game at the charity stripe.
Junior guard Dante Valentine shook off a tough shooting night (5-15) from the field to cash in at the free-throw line as he finished 8-of-11 from the line and paced PBA’s efforts with 19 points while adding in seven rebounds and three steals in 33 minutes.
Terry added 14 points for PBA with five boards while Sitz chipped in with nine rebounds to lead all players.
The Spartans were led by Graham’s 12 points on 4-of-12 from the field while grabbing eight defensive rebounds and playing all 40 minutes of the contest.
The Sailfish will be back in action this weekend as they travel to St. Petersburg, Florida to battle Caldwell College at the Eckerd Classic. The Fish will tip-off at 7 pm on Friday, November 18th in St. Pete.