PBA Comeback Effort Falls Just Short in 62-58 Loss to the University of Tampa

Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations

Alan Hardy (Pictured) Gave the 'Fish a Nice Boost Off the Bench on Saturday with 10 Points and Nine Rebounds. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins.Alan Hardy (Pictured) Gave the 'Fish a Nice Boost Off the Bench on Saturday with 10 Points and Nine Rebounds. Photo Courtesy of: Damon Higgins.

Box Score

TAMPA, Fla.- A hard-fought second-half effort by the Sailfish men’s basketball team coupled with some poor University of Tampa free-throw shooting nearly made for a late victory for Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday afternoon at the Bob Martinez Center. The contest would come down to the final possessions as Tampa held on for a 62-58 win over the Sailfish.

Neither team shot particularly well on the afternoon with Tampa (3-1) holding a slight edge at 40-percent (23-57) while PBA (1-3) knocked down 35-percent (18-51) of their opportunities on the day.

The biggest two differences in the contest came with the Spartans dominating the matchup in the paint with a 32-16 points differential while the Sailfish connected for a much better percentage (63-percent) at the free-throw line at 19-of-30 compared to that of UT who managed just 11-of-30 (37-percent).

Fighting back after trailing by as many as 12 points in the opening half the ‘Fish had an opportunity down 61-58 with 24 seconds left to potentially knock down a game-tying 3-pointer however the shot would not fall as UT scrambled for the rebound and closed out the game at the charity stripe.

Although the Sailfish never led in the contest they did make things tough on the Spartans who improved to 3-1 with the victory.

After neither team could seem to get in an offensive rhythm in the opening stanza, the two teams regrouped and put together an entertaining and more offensive-minded second-half.

The Sailfish and Spartans entered the locker room at halftime with UT holding on to a 28-19 lead as the strong play of guard Da’Markco Foster helped carry the home-standing Spartans with his game-high 15 points in the first 20 minutes of play while knocking down 3-of-8 shots from long-range.

The second-half saw the Sailfish cut into the Spartans lead early on while getting the UT advantage down to a more manageable single-digit deficit for PBA.

Junior guard Evin Graham’s layup with 39 seconds left nearly completed the comeback as UT clung to a 60-58 lead.

After Tampa made only one-of-two attempts at the free-throw line on their next possession the Sailfish setup what they hoped would be a game-tying basket. Unfortunately the shot didn’t fall and PBA was left with a spoiled comeback effort.

Foster led all scorers with 27 points on the afternoon while finishing 9-of-20 from the field and 5-of-10 at the free-throw line. Eric Moraes (9 points, 11 rebounds) and Vincent Cornu (8 points, 13 rebounds) nearly registered double-doubles in the victory.

PBA was paced by Graham’s 14 points off the bench as the Fort Myers, Fla. product did a majority of his damage at the charity stripe by going 8-of-11 at the line.

Alan Hardy and Clayton Williams were the other two PBA players in double-figures with both guards registering 10 points. Hardy did his damage off the bench and nearly posted a double-double with nine rebounds in 20 minutes of court time.

PBA will be off from game action until Wednesday, Nov. 27 when they will host the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras at 4 pm. Fans are encouraged to bring an unopened can good that can be exchanged for a free game ticket.

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