Putting together a good 20 minutes of play hasn’t been a problem for the University of the Virgin Islands’ men’s basketball team.
It’s been the final 20 minutes that have been killing the undermanned Buccaneers.
That was the case Tuesday night in North Miami, Fla., as UVI — batting foul problems — saw the University of Fort Lauderdale pull away in the second half for a 101-71 victory.
Four players finished in double figures for the Buccaneers (1-14), led by Naythan Shaw-Clarke, who had a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Jalil Langston added 13 points, Nathan Carroll had a season-high 12 points and William Steger also had a season best with 10 points.
That wasn’t enough to top the Eagles (13-12), who won for the ninth time in their past 10 games. Trevon White led Fort Lauderdale with 14 points, Brahin Riley added 13 points, Trandon Smith had 11 points and Mark Lancaster scored 10 points.
UVI never led in Tuesday night’s game — which started nearly two hours later than its announced 8 p.m. (Atlantic) start time for still-unknown reasons — but the Buccaneers did manage to keep things close with Fort Lauderdale.
The Eagles’ lead varied between five and six points through the first 10 minutes of the half, with UVI closing to within three points twice — the last at 15-12 on Carroll’s 3-pointer with 13 minutes, 31 seconds left.
But when the Buccaneers had two of their key players get into foul trouble — Langston had three fouls by the seven-minute mark, and Shaw-Clarke picked up his third with just over eight minutes remaining — that opened the door for Fort Lauderdale to get some separation.
The Eagles would go up by as many as 11 points late in the opening half — 32-21 on Riley’s dunk with 7:13 remaining — and would end the first half with a 45-36 lead.
Things just got worse for UVI in the second half, with two players — Shaw-Clarke and Steger — fouling out and Langston finishing with four fouls.
That allowed Fort Lauderdale to extend its lead to double digits, with the Eagles’ biggest margin coming in the final minutes when Marquez Smith’s layup put them ahead 101-71.
Naythan Shaw-Clarke, University of the Virgin Islands: The 6-foot-3 junior guard had his second straight double-double, but the foul trouble made for a rough night. He was 6 of 12 from the field — 1 of 13 on 3-pointers — and 7 of 12 on free throws. But he also committed eight turnovers.
Trevon White, University of Fort Lauderdale: No double-double this time out for the freshman, but he was near-perfect shooting again. After making 8 of 10 shots Monday, he came through with a 6-of-8 performance Tuesday. He also had six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
• UVI didn’t have a bad night shooting the ball — 40.7% (22 of 54) from the field, 9 of 16 on 3-pointers and 18 of 26 on free throws. But the Buccaneers had 29 turnovers, which gave Fort Lauderdale a bunch of extra scoring opportunities.
The Eagles took advantage, too — 40 of 84 from the field (47.6%), 9 of 30 on 3s and 12 of 17 on free throws, and a whopping 34 points off turnovers.
• The numbers once again caught up with UVI Tuesday night. While all six of the Buccaneers’ players scored, Fort Lauderdale put 11 players on the court — and all 11 scored. That gave the Eagles a 63-8 advantage in bench scoring.
UVI takes another break — this time 18 days — before closing out the season with a five-game, seven-day road trip in South Carolina and Florida.
The Buccaneers opens the road trip against Morris College in Sumter, S.C., on Feb. 11, followed by a matchup against Voorheis University in Denmark, S.C., on Feb. 13.
UVI then travels back to North Miami, Fla., again for the Skinner Classic, being played at the University of Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 15-17.
In addition to the Buccaneers and Eagles, teams involved are Atlantis University and the University of the Bahamas.