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Spartans squander large lead

UT loses at the buzzer after blowing a 20-point first-half lead.

By ROD GIPSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 18, 2001


TAMPA -- Freshman forward DeCoursey Jamison made a layup with less than a second left as Lynn capped a big rally to beat Tampa 75-73 Wednesday at the Bob Martinez Sports Center.

Lynn (13-3) fell behind 28-8 nine minutes into the game and seemed on its way to being blown out by the Spartans (13-3). But missed shots, turnovers and an up-tempo offense took center stage as the Knights came back to improve to 4-0 in the Sunshine State Conference. "It was obvious we gave the game away," said UT coach Richard Schmidt, whose team now is 2-2 in the conference. "We came out and did some good things, but down the stretch, we couldn't do anything. We didn't execute."

The Spartans' lead, which was eight at the half, was as large as 10 with 8:25 left in the game. But three-pointers by Leandro Morales and Kenny Anders helped set up the Knights' late heroics.

After a goaltending call against the Spartans left them with a 73-71 lead, each team turned the ball over before a Morales bucket tied the game with 56 seconds left.

Both teams turned the ball over again before Lynn got the ball back with 11 seconds left and set up the game-winning shot. Morales led the Knights with 21 points while UT was led by Sylvere Bryan's 16. Elijah Piazza scored 13 off the bench for UT while James Mereus and Gecarri Freeman each added 10. The loss leaves UT in third place in the SSC and facing two road league games, Saturday at Barry and Jan. 24 at Florida Tech.

"Until we start doing the things we need to do in the clutch, we won't win," Schmidt said. "We keep making mental mistakes."

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