Tampa Basketball Set for SSC Opener

Tampa Basketball Set for SSC Opener

TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa men's and women's basketball programs welcome the Nova Southeastern University Sharks to the Martinez Center for both programs' Sunshine State Conference openers.


The Matchup: University of Tampa Spartans (1-1, 0-0 SSC) vs. Nova Southeastern University Sharks (1-2, 0-0 SSC)

Date/Time: Saturday, November 23 at 2:00 pm

Location: Bob Martinez Athletics Center | Tampa, Fla. | 400 North Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606

Series History: The Spartans are ahead in the series, 28-16. Tampa won the last meetings against the Sharks; however, the two sides are 5-5 in the last 10 matchups. The Spartans are 14-6 when home versus the Sharks and have won three of the last four in the Martinez Center.

Last Time Out: The Spartans defeated the Sharks at home, 66-59 on February 23rd, 2019. Tampa was able to hold off a fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Sharks, where they were outscored 27-16. Tampa shot 46.8% from the field and 46.2% from three while limiting the Sharks to a field-goal percentage of 32.4% and 22.7% from three. Both Dori Nagy and Staja Tyghter, recorded 20 points along with 10+ rebounds (double-doubles) in the contest. Alison Hughes and Christen Prasse led the Sharks in scoring with 18 and 17 points. Tygther, for the Spartans, and Hughes and Prasse graduated and are not with the two programs for the 2019-20 season.

About the Spartans (Women): UT will be back in action for the first time since November 9th. The Spartans opened the season with both a win and a loss in the Spartan Crossover. Tampa defeated Spring Hill College 78-46, but came up short against the University of West Georgia 69-67. The Spartans have been very efficient on offense. In the two games played the Spartans shot a combined 54-106 from the field (50.9%). Tampa has played great defense, limiting opponents shooting to a combined 42-124 (33.9%). LaShayla Wright-Ponder has been a force for the Spartans to start the season. In 47 minutes played between the two opening games, she has scored 37 points, collected 17 rebounds, and dished out six assists. Dori Nagy makes up the second half of a dominating frontcourt, as the forward from Hungary has scored 30 points and collected 22 rebounds in her first two games of the season. The Spartans have made passing a priority in their offense as well, assisting on 40 out of 54 made baskets. 

About the Sharks (Women): Nova Southeastern opened the season with consecutive losses to Union (Tenn.) and Delta State. Most recently, the Sharks defeated Bentley in a home matchup this past Monday, 81-66. Esabelle Levine led all Sharks with 18 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Tully, who leads the Sharks in points per game, averaging 19.7, contributed 13 points. The Sharks shot an impressive 12-21 from three-point range. Levine was 4-10 from deep, which stands out as she was 1-6 in the Sharks' first two contests. Coach Freeland-Curry is in her ninth season as the head of the Sharks program and looks to get her team back to level on the year.


The Matchup: University of Tampa Spartans (0-4, 0-0 SSC) vs. #2 Nova Southeastern Sharks (2-0, 0-0 SSC)

Date/Time: Saturday, November 23 at 4:00 pm. 

Location: Bob Martinez Athletics Center | Tampa, Fla. | 400 North Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606

Series History: The Sharks leads the series dating back to 1999 by a slight margin with a 21-19 record against the Spartans. Nova Southeastern won by a combined 19 points in the last two games played last season. The Sharks have won the last five contests versus Tampa, with UT's last win occurring on January 25, 2017. The Spartans have a 12-9 record when home vs. Nova Southeastern.

Last Time Out: The Sharks improved their record to 25-2 when they defeated the Spartans, 95-82 at the end of last season. The game was played in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on March 6th, 2019. Anthony Gamble led the Spartans with a game-high 25 points in the contest. Only one Spartan player who was featured in the matchup, Brent Duncan, is a part of Tampa's 2019-2020 roster. Mark Matthews led the Sharks with 24 points and Dwayne Gibson contributed 22 as well. Despite the losing effort, the Spartans shot 55% from the field. The differentiator in the game was three-point shooting as Tampa went 5-17, whereas Nova shot 11-23 with five different players making at least one three-pointer.

About the Spartans (Men): Despite increasing their scoring total in each of the four games played this season, the Spartans begin the season with a 0-4 record. Three of the four games were neutral site contests. Most recently, the Spartans lost, 86-82 to the Georgia College Bobcats. Tampa guard, Pat Bacon, led the Spartans with a game-high of 26 points. Bacon played all 40 minutes for UT and also led the team in assists with six. The Spartans struggled from three in the contest shooting 3-11. On the other hand, Georgia College was 13-35 from downtown. Opponents have scored 80.5 points per game against the Spartans as they look to contain the Sharks potent offense and pull off the upset in their home opener.

About the Sharks (Men): In two games played, Nova Southeastern has scored a whopping 253 points. Most recently, the Sharks defeated Trevecca Nazarene, 123-83. For the Sharks, Mark Matthews has scored 48 points in the first two games to lead all Sharks players. Nick Smith has scored 44 points in the first two contests (22 per game). The Sharks have shot a combined 91-146 from the field (62.3%). Nova Southeastern is currently ranked the #2 team in the nation and was voted as the preseason favorite to win the SSC as well and looks to repeat as SSC regular-season champs. Head Coach, Jim Crutchfield enters his third season at the helm of the Sharks program which has gone 49-14 under his supervision. Nova Southeastern has very high expectations for the season as the only ranked opponent on the 2019-20 schedule is #18 Florida Southern (who they play twice).

Tickets: General admission ticket prices for all Tampa regular season athletic events are $5. Youth (ages 12 and under) are admitted free of charge. UT students and faculty/staff are admitted free with a valid Spartan ID.

Watch Live: Fans may watch the game through TampaSpartans.tv. Live stats are available through TampaStats.com.

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Text Alerts: UT also offers a free text messaging service that sends text alerts following all Spartan events. To sign up, please register at www.tampaspartans.com.

Front Row: Download the official app of UT Athletics on the Apple or Android store. Look for Tampa Spartans Front Row app to receive notifications from your favorite Spartan teams. The app is completely free.