Men’s Basketball Slips in Season Finale

The University of Tampa Spartans (15-13, 7-9) made a season-high 12 three-pointers, but fell to the Nova Southeastern Sharks 73-64 Saturday afternoon in Tampa. The Sharks (13-14, 8-8) were led by forward/guard Diego Aguiar’s 22 points, 15 of which came in the second half. Center David Naylor scored 14 in the first half, but only managed two late free throws in the second half. “I think we made him tired,” said coach Mark Olson. “We started to get it up and down the floor, and he just wore out.” Olson was forced to manage the game while regular head coach Richard Schmidt served a one-game suspension for being ejected from two Sunshine State Conference matches this season. Schmidt was tossed for the second time Wednesday for arguing a call. Chris Evans scored a team-high 17 for the Spartans, including going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. His last miss was highly contested, as it appeared to bounce in and out of the cylinder. “I think all my shots are going in,” said Evans. “We thought that his hand came up through the net and hit the ball out.” The referees disagreed on the important shot. Had it gone it, it would have cut the NSU lead to two with under a minute remaining. Instead, Donovan Redden of the Sharks grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He missed both free throws, giving Jeffrey Moore a chance to cut the lead again. Moore’s three-point attempt missed everything. Tim Coenraad was fouled on the Sharks’ next possession and sank both free throws, giving NSU the lead 69-62. After the Sharks made their last four free throws, Moore hit an easy layup the cap the scoring. “Obviously, we wanted to win the game,” said coach Olson. “We need to guard the point better next time.” “The turning point was their 8-0 run after the injury to No. 23,” said guard Matt Pezzullo. With 10:56 left in the first half, the Spartans held an eight-point lead when Johnathan Ball and Josh Wood collided in the air. Wood fell hard to the floor and his face smashed into the court. “His tooth just flew out. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Moore. There was a ten-minute break as the staff cleaned up the court, effectively ending any momentum Tampa had built in the first part of the half. The Spartans face the Sharks again Friday, March 2 in the first round of the SSC tournament at Lynn University. “It’s impossible to beat a team three times in a season. Not that we tried to lose today, but it makes it easier for Friday,” said lone-senior Matt Pezzullo. Pezzullo scored seven in his UT home finale. “We’d rather lose now than on Friday,” added Evans. “Going into Friday, our record for the season is 0-0,” said coach Olson. “The whole season only consists of three games, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

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