ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The University of Tampa men's basketball team took on the Puerto Rico-Bayamon Cowboys in their last matchup of the Eckerd College Thanksgiving Classic and won a close battle, 81-73.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: Tampa Spartans 81, Puerto Rico-Bayamon Cowboys 73
Records: Tampa (5-2), Puerto Rico- Bayamon (1-4)
Location: McArthur Center | St. Petersburg, Fla.
All-time Series: Tampa leads the all-time series with a perfect -0 record.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | The Cowboys were the first to score on a layup, but sophomore Pat Bacon retailated with a layup with his own, tying the score. The cowboys took an early lead going on up on the Spartans 6-2. But a pair of layups from junior Duke Shelton and junior Grant Bryant and a three point jumper from Bacon would put the Spartans in the lead, 11-9. The Cowboys and the Spartans traded baskets for nearly two minutes which put the Cowboys in the lead, until a three pointer was made by freshman Mekhi Biffle, assisted by senior Matt Johnson putting the lead back in the Spartans hands. The Cowboys applied pressure to the Spartans, increasing their lead to seven points. They kept UT scoreless for nearly three minutes in the first quarter. Sophomore Bacon ended the dry spell with a three pointer assisted by Johnson, followed by a layup by Shelton, to close in on the Cowboys three point lead. The Cowboys did not take this lightly as they hit a three point jumper and a layup with four minutes left on the clock, making their lead eight points. Biffle hit two back-to-back three pointers to make the Spartans only trail by two. Bacon tied the score on a layup with two minutes left in the half. But late points by the Cowboys put them up 41-36 heading into halftime.
2nd Half | The Spartans started the second half with a three pointer by Bacon assisted by Freddy Ibrahim. Ibrahim then scored a layup making the score 44-42, Cowboy advantage. The Cowboys continued building on their lead as they led the Spartans by as many as six, until Bacon recorded back-to-back layups closing the gap to one point. A Bacon three point jumper, assisted by Biffle, would tie the score at 55-55. The Cowboys had a pair of layups to lead again by four, but a dunk by Shelton brought the Spartans within two. The Spartans took their first lead, 76-70, since the first half with just under six minutes left in the game. The Spartans held on to win 81-73 over the Cowboys.
INSIDE THE STATS:
• Bacon led all Spartans with 32 points, three rebounds, and two steals.
• Freshman Biffle was the second leading point scorer with 16 points, three rebounds, and four blocks.
• Shelton was the third leading point scorer with 15 points and 18 rebounds.
• Tampa shot 48.4 percent from the field, as the Cowboys came in at 47.4 percent.
• UT outrebounded its opponent 41-24.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
• Johnson had a team high six assists.
• Shelton tallied his fourth double-double of his junior season.
• Four Spartans scored in double figures.
Tampa will be back in action on Wednesday the 30th in the Martinez Center. The Spartans will take on the Sailfish of Palm Beach Atlantic at 7:30 pm. Live stats will be available through TampaStats.com.
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