Spartans Look to Rebound in SSC Home Opener

Spartans Look to Rebound in SSC Home Opener

TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa men's, women's basketball programs welcome Barry University to the Martinez Athletics Center on Saturday afternoon. The women's team will tip off at 2 p.m. and look to continue success at home, while the men's game will begin shortly after the conclusion of game one. 

WOMEN'S:

The Matchup: University of Tampa Spartans (5-1, 0-1 SSC) vs. Barry University Buccaneers (2-4, 0-1 SSC)

Date/Time: Saturday, December 1 at 2 pm. 

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

Series History: Spartans lead 46-25, however, UT has lost three straight against Barry.

Last Time Out: Tampa held No. 21 Florida Southern to 28% shooting from three-point range, and out-rebounded the Moccasins 32-28, but ultimately the Spartans did not make a field goal in the final 7:34 of the contest. No. 21 Florida Southern stole the SSC opener, 55-48, in Lakeland, Florida on Wednesday night. Staja Tyghter sparked the offense in the first and third quarters, tallying seven points in each ten minute period. Tyghter led the team with nine rebounds and tied for the team-high, 14 points, with Dori NagyNagy, a USF transfer, grabbed six rebounds to help UT dominate the glass.  Entering the SSC opener, Tampa averaged 16.8 three-point attempts per game, but UT was held to five attempts against FSC. The Moccasins' Camille Giardina, a WBCA '17-18 Honorable Mention All-American, rattled off 22 points in the comeback against UT.

About the Spartans (Women): Last season, UT owned a home-court advantage as they held a 14-3 record at the Martinez Athletics Center. Through six games, Tampa has averaged 68 points per game on 49% shooting from the field. On the defensive side, the Spartans rank third in the NCAA allowing 49.5 points per game. UT has worked their way to the free-throw line 18.3 times per game, while converting about 69% of their attempts. Tyghter, a senior forward from Orlando, leads the team with 13.8 points per game and has registered at least 14 points, eight rebounds in five of six games this season. Emily Eshoo, a senior from Naperville, Ill., ranks second in scoring at 11.3 points per game converting at 48.9% from the field. Nagy is averaging a double-double through six games; ranking 38th in the nation with 10.3 rebounds while posting 10.5 points per game. 

About the Buccaneers (Women): Barry dropped their SSC opener, 62-51, to Nova Southeastern on Wednesday night. Nichel Tampa, a transfer from Western Kentucky University, logged a career-high 21 points in 33 minutes on 48% shooting from the field. The Buccaneers trailed 11-0 to begin the game and could not battle back despite Harriet Swindells and Ida Andersson scoring in double figures. Tampa, a sophomore guard, leads the team with 16.5 points per game and has racked up 15 steals through six games. Two of their six contests have been against top-ten competition.

MEN'S:

The Matchup: University of Tampa Spartans (4-3, 0-1 SSC) vs. No. 12 Barry University Buccaneers (4-1, 0-1 SSC)

Date/Time: Saturday, December 1 at 4 pm. 

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

Series History: Spartans lead 44-27; Tampa has won the last three of four meetings. Last season at the Martinez Athletics Center, then-ranked No. 11 Barry edged past UT in a 107-103 thriller in double overtime. Vincent Biffle registered his career-high 26 points in the December contest. 

Last Time Out: The Spartans went through a scoring drought in the second half against No. 21 Florida Southern, losing the SSC opener 74-67 in Lakeland. Alberto Moreno ignited the offense after UT trailed 16-3 to open the game. Moreno scored ten points in the first half to give Tampa a five-point lead heading to the break. To begin the second half, Moreno notched five points in two minutes and the junior guard ended the night with a game-high 17 points. Tampa owned the boards, accumulating 49 rebounds, the most since November 28th, 2015. Cedric Belemene logged a career-high 15 rebounds, grabbing six offensive boards. 

About the Spartans (Men): Tampa took down No. 9 West Florida, 81-63, in the Saint Leo Crossover Classic on November 16, but have lost three of four games since the upset over No. 9 UWF. Head coach Richard Schmidt sits one win away from 700 career victories. The Spartans are averaging 67.3 points per game on 41% shooting from the field. Tampa's defense has allowed 66.7 points per game, which ranks 43rd in the nation. Anthony Gamble leads the team with 13.7 points per game, while Belemene has posted an average of 8.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks through seven games. Moreno leads the team in assists (2.9), steals (2.1), and currently ranks third in points (11.1). Vincent Biffle ranks second on the team in points (13.3), rebounds (7.1), and steals (1.7). 

About the Buccaneers (Men): Despite six Buccaneers in double-figures, No. 12 Barry stumbled in the SSC opener against No. 17 Nova Southeastern dropping the match, 103-93, in a top 25 clash. In the second half, there were 11 ties and seven lead changes as Isaiah Hobbs led the way with 16 points and nine rebounds. No. 12 Barry shot 51% from the field and out-rebounded NSU 52-42, however the Buccaneers turned the ball over 20 times compared to the Sharks' four turnovers. Evan Walshe leads the Buccaneers with 12 points per game while shooting 60% from the field. No. 12 Barry had not allowed more than 62 points prior to the SSC opener. Head coach Butch Estes secured his 100th victory at Barry University against UT last season in the double overtime thriller. Coach Estes has guided Barry University to five NCAA tournament appearances, including two Elite 8's, in his five years on campus. 

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