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By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 11, 2002

TAMPA -- The University of Tampa men's basketball team ended the non-conference portion of its schedule with the best record of any Sunshine State Conference team at 10-1.

Following an 8-0 start, the Spartans fell to Shaw 71-68 in the Quincy (Ill.) Tournament, but rebounded to post back-to-back wins against Molloy (N.Y.) and Monmouth (Ill.) by 25 and 26 points. Tampa's first loss dropped the Spartans from No. 3 to No. 6 in the NABC/Division II top 25.

In six games during a busy holiday break, senior Jon Brown returned to his all-SSC form from two years ago, pouring in a career-high 34 points in a 92-68 win against Mobile. He also scored 18 in a key 83-81 win against Queens (N.C.), thanks to 11 of 12 shooting from the line.

In six games, the senior averaged 17.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 84.6 percent from the free-throw stripe.

Although 10-1 is a solid start, it's not UT's best. The Spartans opened last season 11-0 and went 16-1 to start the 1999-2000 campaign. UT opened Sunshine State Conference play Wednesday with a 75-65 win against Rollins. The Spartans host Barry on Saturday at 4 p.m.

SWIMMING: The Spartans set five school records Dec. 19-21 during their meet at Delta State.

The women's team of Jasmine DeGross, Bo Stith, Elysia Moreland and Melissa Fielder established a record with a time of 1:45.22 in the 200-meter medley relay. Abby Franck, Mandy Smith, Moreland and Fielder set a record with a 3:55.35 in the 400 medley relay. Mandy Smith was a solo record-setter with a 1:06.17 mark in the 100 breaststroke.

On the men's side, Patrick Weaver set a school record with a 50.55 in the 100 backstroke and Matt Goodwin secured a school record in the 200 breaststroke with a 2:03.36 time. UT, which has qualified 20 swimmers for the NCAA meet in March, captured the UT Relays title Jan. 5.

The men's team topped Oklahoma Baptist 142-124, followed by Slippery Rock with 84. The UT women also won, scoring 124 points while Oklahoma Baptist, Slippery Rock and Wingate (N.C.) each had 92.

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