Sam Daniel set a new career-high with 47 points on Saturday, helping the visiting Panthers hand the Nova Southeastern Sharks their first loss of the season, 103-99. Not only was it a career mark for Daniel, but it was also the most points scored at the Rick Case Arena in Fort Lauderdale.
This marked the first time that the Sharks came in ranked in the top 25 in the country, and the Panthers rained on their parade in a big way, earning their first conference win of the season in the process.
Jordan Majors scored 21 points for Florida Tech, while Richard Coil recorded a double-double, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Michael Milligan also poured in 13. Antonis Pefanis played his first minutes of the season, coming off an injury and he was good for one rebound, one assist, one block and a steal in nine minutes of action.
Florida Tech (4-6, 1-3 SSC) shot 55.4 percent from the floor (36-of-65). They made eight three’s for the game, shooting 32 percent and held a 41-37 advantage in rebounds.
Daniel was unconscious from the field all day and had 26 points at the half, helping the Panthers lead at that point 44-43. He was 10-of-14 from the field and 5-of-7 from three-point range in that first half. He finished the day 15-of-23 overall, including 7-of-12 from three-point range and 10-of-14 from the charity stripe. He also pulled down eight rebounds.
It took 2:10 for either team to get on the board, but finally, NSU broke the scoreless tie with a Gerard Tarin layup. Daniel hit his first three of the contest with 17:38 left, giving the Panthers their first lead of the day. Things went back-and-forth early before Daniel hit back-to-back threes to make it a 13-6 game with 14:45 to go in the half.
That would be the largest lead the Panthers would have in the half, as they held leads of 29-22 and 32-25. The Sharks went on a 12-5 run and took their first lead since early in the half, 36-34 with 3:26 left in the half. Daniel answered with a three 13 seconds later, giving his squad a 37-36 lead.
Leading 44-43 at the break, the Panthers were on a see-saw to start the second half, as the game was tied at 50 after Daniel hit two free-throws with 16:19 to go. After a three-pointer by Nick Smith gave NSU a 53-52 lead, the Panthers jumped out again, leading 57-53 on another Daniel triple.
Malik Hardy’s three-ball closed the gap to 64-63 Panthers with 9:37 left and they would make it 66-64 in favor of the Panthers with 8:20 left. An 8-0 run got the lead to 10, 74-64 with 6:43 left and two free-throws by Daniel would up the lead to 84-71 with 4:07 left.
The Panthers would get their lead up to 93-78, their biggest lead of the day, after Valur Valsson hit two from the charity stripe with 1:37 to go. David Dennis got the lead down to 96-89 after a steal and a three-ball. After Majors hit two free-throws, Smith drained another three with 25 seconds left, making it a 98-92 game.
The Sharks (6-1, 3-1 SSC) got another three from Smith with 12 seconds left, following a couple free-throws from Daniel and all of a sudden, it was a 100-95 game. Smith was fouled on the play and hit the freebie, cutting it to four.
After Milligan got an easy layup with three seconds left, Hardy was fouled shooting a three and made all of them, cutting the Panthers lead to 102-99. That was as close as the Sharks would get, as Milligan was fouled and made one of his free-throws to ice it.
Hardy had a team-high 32 points for the Sharks in 35 minutes. Dennis finished with 20 and Tarin had 10.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Nova Southeastern Box Score
Florida Tech returns home on December 18 to host their holiday tournament. They host Miles College at 6:00 p.m. On Tuesday, they will wrap things up with Shawnee State, another 6:00 p.m. tip.