Sam Daniel – Photo credit: James Ragan Photography

The Florida Tech men’s basketball team opened their season on Friday with an 87-82 loss to Morehouse College in the opening game of the NCAA South Regional Tipoff Challenge at Rollins College.

The Panthers made a furious comeback in the second half after being down 11 at the break and as many as 17 with 9:34 to go in the second half.

Sam Daniel had a phenomenal day for the Panthers, scoring a game-high 32 points, going 10-of-18 from the field, including 6-of-12 from three-point range. The Panthers had four scorers in double figures, with Jordan Majors (17), Michael Milligan (10), and Valur Valsson (10), joining Daniel. Milligan added 10 rebounds, to record the first double-double of the season.

Morehouse had four scorers in double figures as well, led by Tyrius Walker’s 19. The Maroon Tigers went 24-for-24 from the free-throw line, while the Panthers were 12-of 16. The difference in the game came off the bench, with Morehouse outscoring Florida Tech 20-7. The Panthers went 10-for-27, while Morehouse was 7-for-22, from long distance.

Morehouse got on the board first, but Daniel hit back-to-back three’s, giving Florida Tech a 6-2 lead. After a three from Valsson gave the Panthers an 11-8 lead a short time later, Morehouse tied the game at 11 with a three by Duby Maduegbunam.

An eight-point run by Morehouse helped them to a 35-25 lead with 7:58 left in the half. With 13:12 left in the contest, the Maroon Tigers went back up by 11, which was where they had been able to keep the score, most of the way. They went up 72-55 after Tony Evans made a layup with 9:34 to go and they matched it with 9:00 left.

Florida Tech wasn’t done, as they went on a 9-0 run to cut it to 74-67 with 6:27 left. The run was highlighted by two three’s from Daniel, but the Panthers weren’t done. After Walker hit a free-throw to put Morehouse up 78-70, Majors hit a three and scored on a layup to cut it to 78-75 with 3:42 left.

Two free throws by Majors with 1:07 to go, cut it to 83-82, but a turnover by the Panthers and the Maroon Tigers continued perfection from the charity stripe put the game away.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Morehouse College Box Score 

The Panthers will take on Clark Atlanta University Saturday, as they wrap up the tournament. Clark Atlanta beat Rollins on Friday, 106-103. Tipoff is set for noon.

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