TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa men's basketball team clinched their berth in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament with tonight's victory over the Eckerd Tritons.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final Score: Tampa 72, Eckerd 54
Records: University of Tampa Spartans (14-13, 8-11 SSC), Eckerd College Tritons (18-9, 11-8)
Location: Bob Martinez Athletics Center || Tampa, Fla.
All-Time Series: Tampa leads 53-36 and the Spartans snapped a five-game losing streak.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | Anthony Gamble began senior night with three straight long-range jumpers for the Spartans first nine points. The senior totaled 20 points in the opening half, shooting 6-for-7 from three-point range, connecting on 7-of-9 from the field. Cedric Belemene and Marco Downer grabbed eight rebounds apiece in the first half, while Downer swatted four shots in the opening 20 minutes. Tampa's defense held Eckerd to 2-of-15 (13%) from three-point range. Eckerd's Drushaun McLaurn led the way for the Tritons with 12 points in 17 minutes of play. At halftime, Tampa led 37-29 over the Eckerd Tritons.
2nd Half | Freddy Ibrahim guided the Spartans to a victory in the second half, as he posted 12 points in the half on 50% (4-for-8) shooting from the field. After Gamble's first half outburst, he logged eight points in 20 minutes. Downer owned the boards in the second half as he racked up 11 boards and swatted seven shots. He ended the night with his second straight triple-double as he registered 10 points, 19 rebounds and 11 blocks. The Spartans held a 14-point lead before Eckerd cut the deficit to 53-47 with ten minutes remaining. However, UT went on a 19-4 run over the next nine minutes to put the game out of reach.
INSIDE THE STATS:
- Downer finished with 10 points, 19 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
- This marked the second consecutive triple-double for Downer, who now owns two of the three triple-doubles in program history.
- Downer, a freshman, also set the single-game school record for blocked shots with 11.
- Tampa's defense held Eckerd to 25% (19-for-75) shooting on the night, and 15% (4-for-27) shooting from "down-town".
- Tampa logged 15 blocks compared to the Tritons three.
- Despite UT winning the overall rebounding battle, Eckerd secured 23 offensive rebounds.
BEYOND THE BOX:
- The Spartans blocked 15 shots as a team, the most since March 8, 2008 against Saint Leo.
- In the last two games, Downer has swatted 21 shots while the Spartans have blocked 29 shots in total.
- Downer has secured 34 rebounds in the last two games.
UP NEXT: The University of Tampa will travel to Lynn for the final game of the regular season on Saturday afternoon, tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. The Spartans will hit the road next Wednesday, March 6 for the first round of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament.
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