Second-Half Swoon Hurts Sailfish Chances as Tampa Prevails in Men's Hoops

Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Communications

Marcus Hardy (Pictured) Continues to Be Solid in the Paint for PBA with 22 Points to Go Along with 12 Rebounds on Saturday Afternoon Versus Tampa. Photo Courtesy of: Neil Hayes.Marcus Hardy (Pictured) Continues to Be Solid in the Paint for PBA with 22 Points to Go Along with 12 Rebounds on Saturday Afternoon Versus Tampa. Photo Courtesy of: Neil Hayes.

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- A tightly-contested first-half of Saturday’s men’s basketball matchup between Palm Beach Atlantic and the University of Tampa quickly turned ugly for the Fish in the second-half as UT never looked back on their way to a 76-61 win at the Rubin Arena.

After battling to just a 34-29 deficit in the opening stanza, the Sailfish (1-18) would not have enough gas left in the tank to take down a deep and talented Spartans (15-6) squad as UT connected on 56.3-percent (18-32) of their shots in the second-half while outscoring the Fish 42-32 after halftime.

A determined and gutsy effort from PBA sophomore forward Marcus Hardy wouldn’t be enough despite the 6’7” Detroit, Mich. product collecting game-high honors with 22 points and 12 rebounds in the contest.

The Spartans would counter with the strong outside production of senior swingman Anthony Griffis who paced the UT attack with 19 points including a 5-of-8 performance from beyond the arc. Vincent Cornu added in a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards.

The Fish would put together a solid first-half that saw them connect on 45.8-percent (11-24) of their opportunities from the floor while hitting 4-of-5 at the charity stripe.

Trailing by six points with under a minute to play in the opening half, PBA received a 3-pointer from senior guard Salim Fauras to cut the deficit to 32-29 with just 36 ticks left. Tampa stretched their halftime lead back out to five points the next time down the floor as Eric Moraes netted a bucket underneath to put things at 34-29 at the break.

The Spartans would waste little time enforcing their game plan to start the second-half as they rattled off a 14-3 run to start the second period.

The Tampa advantage would grow to as many as 24 points in the second-half before settling on the 15-point victory.

Following Hardy in the scoring column for PBA was senior Dante Valentine who managed 11 points to go along with five assists and four steals in 33 minutes. Junior guard Christian Martinez added 10 points.

Da’Markco Foster connected for 14 points to go with game-high honors of six assists on the Tampa side.

The UT bench claimed a 22-9 advantage over PBA while they also edged the Fish in rebounding at 40-31.

Palm Beach Atlantic will hit the road for their next several contests starting on Monday, Feb. 3 when they make the short trip across town to battle NAIA-powerhouse Northwood University at 7 pm.

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