TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa men's basketball team battled against the third-best team in the country, but fell in overtime to No. 3 Nova Southeastern. Marco Downer recorded the first triple-double since Jordan Davis in 2014.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final Score: No. 3 Nova Southeastern 97, Tampa 91 (OT)
Records: University of Tampa Spartans (13-13, 7-11 SSC), Nova Southeastern University Sharks (23-2, 17-2 SSC)
Location: Bob Martinez Athletics Center || Tampa, Fla.
All-Time Series: The Spartans trail 20-19 in the series, and UT has lost the last four games against NSU.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | Devon Colley tipped off the game with a five-point scoring spurt to give Tampa the early momentum. The teams exchanged baskets for most of the first half as Nova's biggest lead was eight points at the ten minute mark. In the first half, Colley led the team in points (14), assists (4) and steals (2). The junior shot 5-of-6 from the field and converted three free-throws at the line. Marco Downer chipped in 10 points and led the team with five rebounds along with five blocks. Alberto Moreno added 10 points and dished out four assists in 14 minutes of play. No. 3 Nova Southeastern's Eddie Puisis logged 20 points on 6-of-8 from long range. The Sharks led at the half, 55-50, over the scrappy Spartans.
2nd Half | Downer stuffed the stat-sheet in the second half as he grabbed nine boards and swatted five shots. The freshman logged a triple-double with 12 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks. The two teams focused on defense in the second half as they shot under 50% combined. No. 3 Nova Southeastern's Mark Matthews led the way with 10 points in the half and secured six rebounds which also led the team. The Sharks extended the lead to 81-77 with a minute to go, but Freddy Ibrahim pulled up from deep and drained the shot to cut the deficit to one. After two defensive stops, including a drawn charge, Moreno attacked the basket trailing by a point and was fouled on the way up. The junior stepped up to the line and spilt the free throws to even the game at 81-81. After a timeout, the Spartans stopped NSU on their final possesion to force overtime.
OVERTIME | No. 3 Nova Southeastern went on a 5-0 run to open the extra period and held UT to one basket in the first four minutes of overtime. The 11-2 scoring stretch ultimately secured the victory for the Sharks as NSU made five free-throws in the final minute to seal the game.
INSIDE THE STATS:
- Downer's 10 blocks tied the school record for most blocks in a game. Chris Evans registered 10 blocks on March 8, 2008 against Saint Leo.
- Nova Southeastern had five players register 14 points or more, as Puisis led the team with 28 points (8-for-11 from three-point range).
- NSU's bench out-scored the Spartans bench, 42-25, as Moreno was the only impactful bench player for UT with 35 minutes of action.
BEYOND THE BOX:
- Downer recorded the first triple-double since Jordan Davis in 2014, with 12 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks.
- Nova Southeastern clinched the Sunshine State Conference with tonight's victory, the first SSC men's basketball championship in school history.
UP NEXT: The University of Tampa will host Eckerd College on Wednesday night for the final home game of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. following the women's game.
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