SSC Rivals Halt a Spartan Advance in Tournament

The University of Tampa men’s basketball team was knocked out of the Sunshine State Conference tournament March 7 in an 80-59 loss to No. 20 Florida Southern.’ The semifinal defeat, which took place at Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale, effectively ended the Spartans’ season.

‘The only game we were really out of at any time was’hellip;the last game of the season,’ said Tampa head coach Richard Schmidt.

Senior forward Johnathan Ball, normally a starter, came off the bench in his final game as a Spartan and led the team with 18 points in 31 minutes played.’

Despite three Spartans scoring in double digits, the Moccasins led by double digits for the final 19 minutes of the game, leading by as many as 25 points with 5:13 to go. The Spartans were also out-rebounded 51-34 and were a mere 4-18 from three point range as opposed to their counterparts’ 10-21.

Schmidt also took time to reflect on this past season’s positives and negatives.
‘Other than (the last game) we could have won a lot more games,’ Schmidt added, regarding the team’s overall performance this past season.

‘Our guys did a good job because we were outmanned a lot of times.’ We had the least amount of scholarships in the league’hellip;.I think they did a tremendous job.’

Coach Schmidt has already begun looking toward the 2009-10 season, and sees room for improvement in his team and the conference as a whole next season.

‘Everybody in the league is going to be just as good or better next year,’ Schmidt remarked.’ ‘Of all the teams in the league, hardly anybody lost many seniors.’

The Spartans finish the season with a record of 16-12 and an 8-8 record in conference play.’ It is the team’s 10th consecutive winning season.

Ryan Burkett can be reached at

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