SAINT LEO, Fla. – The University of Tampa Spartans opened up the 2021 season on the road, as they traveled up north to face the Saint Leo University Lions. The Spartans were able to use a strong team performance to take home a 79-75 victory.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Final: University of Tampa Spartans 79, Saint Leo University Lions 75.
Records: Tampa (1-0), Saint Leo (0-1)
Location: Marion Bowman Center | Saint Leo, Fla.
All-Time Series: Tampa leads the all-time series 61-23
HOW IT HAPPENED
Freshman Max Jones scored the first point of the season as he connected on a layup 1:30 into the game. Following some back-and-forth action, UT took its first lead of the season as Martin Lakovic nailed a three-point basket. The Lions were able to tie the game back up at eight apiece with 13:35 left in the half. Following the Saint Leo basket, Tampa went on an 11-2 run to take a 19-10 lead right under 10 minutes left to play. SLU was able to go on a run of their own, as they were able to close the gap to just one point, with the score at 22-21. Tampa was able to hold off the run as they ended the half with a dunk by Jones, followed by a steal and dunk by Mykah Brown as time expired. // UT 4, SLU30
UT would pick up right where they left off, as they would score the first four points of the second half to take their biggest lead of the game, 45-30. The Lions would continue to claw their way back into the game, as they were able to pull within two possession, at 47-41, with 16:08 remaining in the game. Tampa would regain its double-digit lead, as Jones would make a layup and Brown drained a three-pointer to put Tampa back up by 11. Over the next six minutes, the two teams would battle back-and-forth, as the Lions would cut the deficit to just four points with 3:05 left in the game. Tampa would close out the game with some clutch offensive possessions, including a perfect free-throw percentage in the final three minutes. // UT 79, SLU 75
INSIDE THE STATS
- Max Jones would have an impressive collegiate debut, as the freshman from Clearwater would put up 23 points and pulled in six rebounds.
- Derrick Felder would also come up big for the Spartans, as the point guard would finish with 19 points.
- Felder would also finish with a game-high in assists and rebounds as he had eight apiece.
- Freshman De'Andre Harvey also had a good career opener, as he would score 13 points off the bench, going six of seven from the field.
- As a team, the Spartans would shoot 46.9% from the field, while holding the Lions to 40%.
- UT shoot well from the free-throw line, as they finished with an 85.7 percentage.
- UT would also apply pressure to the SLU offense, as they were able to record 10 steals and block 10 shots.
- The bench would also play a factor in the game as Tampa's bench outscored Saint Leo's 19-13.
BEYOND THE BOX
- Jones' 23 points were the most in a Spartan opener since 2017.
- UT has won their season opener three of the past four years.
- The victory snaps a two-game losing streak to Saint Leo.
UP NEXT: The Spartans will have their home opener this Saturday, as they are set to host the Barry University Buccaneers. The game is set to tip-off at 4:00 p.m.
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