By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 27, 2002
TAMPA -- Jon Brown's effort during most of the game was workmanlike. But Tampa's senior guard spent the last four minutes dominating.
During that span, Brown had 10 points, none bigger than his one-handed, running jumper from 10 feet that put Tampa ahead with 2.6 seconds left.
In beating Florida Southern 81-79, Tampa maintained its spot atop the Sunshine State Conference at 6-0. The Spartans (16-1) have won eight straight. "We called the play for Jon Brown," UT coach Richard Schmidt said. "Why pass the ball around in that situation when you can put it in the hands of one of your best players?"
Though it hardly seemed necessary just minutes before. Behind solid 3-point shooting from Gecarri Freeman and Sylvere Bryan, UT built a 10-point advantage with 7:30 left. But Florida Southern went on a 9-0 run and tied it at 79, setting up Brown's winner.
Brown led all scorers with 27. Freeman scored 22 and Bryan added 16.
UCF 86, BELMONT 78 (OT): Ray Abellard had seven of his 23 points in overtime to lead the visiting Golden Knights. UCF hit all five of its shots, including three 3-pointers, to outscore the Bruins 19-11 in overtime. Down 61-56, Belmont used an 11-6 run to tie it at 67 and force overtime.
FAMU 73, NORFOLK ST. 61: Jermaine Hill scored 16 and Michael Griffith added 15 to lead the host Rattlers. After trailing by a point at halftime, Florida A&M used a 15-2 run early in the second half to take control.
JACKSONVILLE 74, MERCER 58: Travis Robinson scored 19 for the visiting Dolphins, who moved into first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
FIU 69, NEW ORLEANS 55: Rodrigo Viegas and Slavcho Slavchev each scored 12 and Taurance Johnson added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the host Owls.
TROY STATE 68, STETSON 65: Lamayn Wilson scored 19 to lead the host Trojans.
BARRY 75, SAINT LEO 61: The host Bucs' 33-0 run in the first half was the difference.
-- Information from Times wires was used in this report.