TAMPA, Fla. – No. 22 Tampa (7-0) fought back from a 15-point second-half deficit to overtake Shaw (4-3) for an 82-81 overtime victory at the Martinez Center.
After not playing for 12 days, Shaw looked to be too much for the Spartans as the Bears took a 44-38 lead into halftime and stretched its advantage to 56-41 with 16:36 to play.
The Spartans cut into the Shaw lead, though they did not come within five points until inside the five-minute mark. Vincent Cornu cut the Shaw lead to one possession as he was fouled on a layup, converting the 3-point play to cut the Bears lead to 68-65 with 4:05 remaining in regulation.
Following a pair of Shaw free throws, leading scorer Da’Markco Foster sunk a pair of shots, including a 3-pointer to draw the game even at 70 with 2:42 left. He made a pair of free throws in the ensuing possession, giving UT its first lead at 72-71 with 2:01 showing on the clock.
Shaw tested the Spartans one final time as the Bears took a 74-72 lead inside a minute to play. Tampa responded when Terrell Pritchett found Stefon Barfield for a game-tying layup with 33 seconds on the clock. Following a timeout, Shaw was able to hold for the last shot, but came up short on a shot in the paint with nine seconds to play. Tampa’s bid to win was blocked, forcing an extra period.
In overtime, neither team led by more than two points as Shaw held an 81-79 lead with just over a minute to play as Pritchett came up with the game’s biggest shot on a 3-pointer to give the Spartans an 82-81 lead with 48-seconds on the clock. Tampa drew a charge on the next Shaw possession, and following a pair of missed UT free throws, Shaw was unable to convert on the game-winner at the buzzer.
Foster led all scorers with 26 points as he was one of four Spartans in double figures. Vincent Cornu added 13 points to go with 10 rebounds for his first double-double at UT. Anthony Griffis added 12 points and Pritchett chipped in 10 off the bench.