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College basketball

Eckerd survives Tampa comeback

By ROD GIPSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2003


TAMPA -- Eckerd had two scorers in double figures and overcame an injury to key reserve Charles Bryant to defeat the University of Tampa 57-44 Saturday afternoon at the Bob Martinez Sports Complex.

Less than two minutes into the game, Bryant got tangled in a crowd of players going for a loose ball and was knocked to the floor. He was motionless for several minutes before paramedics took him to Tampa General Hospital. Bryant had x-rays taken but they were negative, Eckerd coach Tom Ryan said.

The 30-minute delay did little to stop Eckerd, which previously pounded UT 75-39 in January.

The Tritons (21-5, 10-4 in Sunshine State Conference) broke out of the 2-2 tie and stormed to a 21-9 run to post a 23-11 halftime advantage. But the Spartans (15-11, 6-8) showed some fight in the second half. Behind 12 second-half points from Achille Ngounou, UT closed the margin to 35-33 with 11:50 left on the clock. But it would be as close as UT would get as cold shooting and a stingy Eckerd defense ended the run. The Spartans managed just six points in the next 10 minutes as the Tritons pulled away.

Cerwin Thompson and Kendrick Wilson combined for 21 points and 26 rebounds to lead Eckerd while Ngounou finished with 14 points and Earnest Williams added 10 for the Spartans.

"I think we were a little shocked at first when it happened (the injury)," said Ryan. "When those players see a friend of theirs down like that, it affects you.

"But I don't know that the delay itself affected us that much. We got the ball moving around and made some shots. It was a tough game."

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