Tampa Drops First Game of Hoops in Hawaii Classic

Tampa Drops First Game of Hoops in Hawaii Classic

Final: Western Washington Vikings 87, Tampa Spartans 77
Records: Tampa (4-6), Western Washington (7-3)
Location: Hawaii Convention Center | Honolulu, Hawaii
All-time Series: first meeting
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | Playing in their first game of the Hoops in Hawaii Classic, the Spartans started slow as WWU grabbed a 10-point lead. Trailing 23-13, Tampa closed out the half on a 15-7 run to draw within two of the Vikings at the break. Though UT never led in the half, they did draw even at 28-28 with 2:06 on the clock. Junior Mekhi Biffle came off the bench to lead Tampa with six first-half points. UT shot just 30.8 percent in the half as WWU was 46.2. The Spartans did convert on 10-of-12 from the free-throw line.

2nd Half | Despite grabbing a brief one-point lead, the Spartans were unable to outscore the Vikings in the second. It was a back-and-forth affair for the first 10 minutes of the half. A go-ahead layup from Marcel Robinson put UT on top 47-46 with 12:10 to play in regulation, which was answered by a 7-0 Western Washington run to lead by six at the mid-way point of the half. Tampa would get within four under the two-minute mark, but the Vikings connected of 16-of-18 free throw shots in the final two minutes of the game to seal the victory.

INSIDE THE STATS:

  • Pat Bacon was one of four Spartans to score double figures, leading the way with 17 points.
  • Mekhi Biffle and Marcel Robinson added 14 apiece while Alberto Moreno chipped in 11.
  • Duke Shelton pulled down a team-leading five rebounds.
  • Bacon led the Spartans with a pair of assists.
  • The Spartans lost the rebounding battle, 41-26.

BEYOND THE BOX:

  • This marks the third game in school history for the Spartans in the state of Hawaii. The first two came during the 2007-08 season when UT split a pair of games. The Spartans fell to BYU-Hawaii before defeating Hawaii Pacific in 2017.
  • A pair of Spartans are nearing the 1,000 career point milestone as senior Robinson sits at 970 while junior Bacon has 957.

UP NEXT:
Tampa concludes play at the Hoops in Hawaii Classic on Monday evening as it meets the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The game will start at 7:30 p.m., Hawaii Time, or 12:30 a.m., Eastern Time. Live stats and video ($) will be available through TampaSpartans.com.

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