Despite a hot start, The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) men’s basketball team fell to the Bulldogs of Fisk University 68-56 after running out of steam in the second half of Thursday night’s Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) matchup at the Henderson A. Johnson Gymnasium in Nashville.
UVI (4-14, 2-10) won the tip and got on the board first with a rim-rocking dunk by junior forward Nico Thomas. The Buccaneers jumped out to a 12-6 lead as they controlled the pace of the ball game early. However, Fisk was able to go on a 9-0 run to overtake UVI.
The Buccaneers played from behind until junior sharpshooter Keylin Vance helped to regain the lead as he drilled a three-point shot and headed to the free throw line to complete the four-point play to give UVI a 21-17 lead.
The conference foes would trade baskets for the remainder of the half as each battled to establish supremacy. Senior guard Naythan Shaw-Clarke’s buzzer-beating shot from behind the arc would give his team breathing room, as he sent the Buccaneers into the locker rooms at halftime leading 36-30.
The Buccaneers opened the second half slowly as they led by just one point (41-40) at the 15:00 mark. The competition was neck and neck as the teams were able to keep pace with each other until the 13:02 mark when Fisk began to pull away. The next five minutes would be pivotal as the Bulldogs went on a 14-3 run. The Buccaneers struggled offensively during this stretch as the team ran out of steam after a hot start to the game.
UVI fought back to cut the deficit to six points with 3:50 remaining (62-56) but a 6-0 run to close the game would prove to be the difference in this contest.
Senior guard William Steger led the way for the UVI as he scored 14 points including making four shots from behind the arc. Steger also recorded three steals as he was active on the defensive end.
Vance finished with 11 points coming off the bench for the Buccaneers.
For the Bulldogs, Blake Goodman led his team with 19 points.
The Buccaneers will continue the second leg of their road trip as they head to Huntsville, Alabama to take on Oakwood University. In the last matchup between the two teams, the Buccaneers defeated the Ambassadors 76-68 at the Elridge Blake Sports and Fitness Center. Tip-off is at 8:30 CST and can be streamed on Channel 120 of the HBCU+ app.
About UVI Athletics
The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and, as of July 1, 2023, competes in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Entering the 2023-24 season, the Buccaneers will begin their 17th season of athletic competition. As the only Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the Caribbean, UVI currently sponsors six sports, including men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field. For more information on UVI Athletics, visit UVIAthletics.com.