Flat Second Half Shooting Costs Sailfish, 'Fish Fall 81-67 to Tampa

Written by: Will Johansen, Sports Information Assistant

Photo courtesy of Ron IrbyPhoto courtesy of Ron Irby

Box Score

TAMPA, Fla.- The Palm Beach Atlantic men’s basketball team (12-11) fell to the University of Tampa Spartans (9-14) 81-67 Saturday afternoon.

The ‘Fish jumped out to an early lead in the opening half, jumping out to an 18-11 lead over the first ten minutes of action, but the Spartans were quickly able to bring things to a 21-21 tie just a minute and a half later. Both teams would exchange blows back and forth for the remaining eight and a half minutes, but the Spartans would edge out the ‘Fish by just a point, 35-34 as both teams headed into their locker rooms at the half.

A Michael Simpson layup with 17:28 remaining in regulation would put the Sailfish out in front, 38-37, but Tampa retaliated with a Pat Bacon three-pointer, giving themselves a 40-38 lead with 17:09 on the clock, a lead in which the Spartans wouldn't relinquish for the remainder of the contest.

The ‘Fish kept it close over the opening minutes of the second half, but in an instant, Tampa would turn up the pressure, eventually jumping out to a 16-point lead at the 10:17 mark. Once Tampa jumped up by 16, they entered cruise control and matched the ‘Fish field goal for field goal to close out the game, by a final score of 81-67 in favor of the Spartans.

Malek Barber led the Sailfish offensively on the afternoon, as the freshman from North Port, Fla. finished with 16 points, three rebounds, and two assists. He was followed by Shavanno Cooper, as the junior from Freeport, Bahamas finished with a baker’s dozen in points, snagged seven rebounds, and picked up three assists. Michael Simpson was the final Sailfish in double-digits, as the senior scored an even 10, knocking down two-of-seven from distance, and snagging two rebounds.

Tampa was led offensively on the afternoon by Pat Bacon’s 27 points and eight rebounds.

The ‘Fish and Spartans were pretty even in the first half, as PBA shot 42-percent from the field to Tampa’s 39-percent, but the second half the Sailfish were out-shot 54-percent to 42-percent; but the big difference in the contest was from distance, as Tampa hit five-of-eleven from distance in the second half, and the ‘Fish hit none of their six attempts.

The Sailfish will be back in action Wednesday, Feb. 17 at home, as they host Saint Leo University, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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