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Scoring Barrage Keeps Panthers Miles Ahead of Golden Bears

Sam Daniel scored 37 in a win over Miles on Monday – Photo credit: James Ragan Photography

The Florida Tech Panthers had five guys in double figures and three of those had triple doubles, leading the home team to a convincing 107-87 win over Miles (0-8) in the Florida Tech Winter Classic.

National Player of the Week Sam Daniel, fresh off his career-high 47 points at Nova Southeastern nine days ago, put up a game-high 37 points against the Golden Bears, to go with his 11 rebounds.

“The longer he’s on the floor sooner or later, Sam Daniel’s gonna burn ya,” said Panthers head coach Billy Mims during his postgame interview with Paul Van Scott. “He’s just a great shooter and finds ways to score the basketball.”

Daniel went 14-of-23 from the field and chipped in three assists and four steals while hitting all five of his free-throws. He struggled a bit from behind the arc, going 4-for-11, but those four are right on his season average.

Michael Milligan, who ended the night with 13 points got the Panthers rolling, scoring the first five points of the game. Miles got their footing and gave the Panthers all they had early, taking a 13-11 lead with 15:32 to go in the half. Jeffrey Dockett, who was one of five Golden Bears in double figures, gave his team a 16-13 lead moments later with a three.

After being tied at 18, the Panthers went on an 8-0 run, capped by a three-ball from Daniel. Florida Tech would widen their lead to 13, thanks to a couple three’s from Antonis Pefanis off the bench. It was 37-24 with 6:30 to go in the half. The lead would balloon to 17, with 4:30 to go before the Panthers suffered through a scoring drought that lasted until Darius Wright hit a three with 46 seconds left in the first stanza. When the horn sounded at the half, the Panthers saw that lead shrink to 48-40.

The Panthers kept a safe distance to start the second half, before reeling off 11 straight points with 11:25 to go in the game, expanding their lead to 73-49, when Richard Coil hit a three-pointer. Coil finished with a double-double, scoring 18 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. He was an impressive 8-for-10 from the field. He had a block and a steal as well, getting a number in every statistical category.

Valur Valsson was the third member of the Panthers to register a double-double, putting up 13 points and dishing out 12 assists.

“He’s a tremendous playmaker and sees the court as well as any guard I’ve ever coached,” said Mims of Valsson. The only negative for Valsson on this night was his seven turnovers, but that’s to be expected from a young guy who is involved in the offense as much as he is. He was not alone in turning the ball over, as the Panthers had 19 as a team.

“We turned the ball over too much and that’s what kinda got them back in the basketball game,” said Mims. “They had 22 points from our 19 turnovers, so if we didn’t turn the ball over we would’ve been much better off.”

The Panthers (5-6) kept their foot on the pedal the rest of the way, leading by as many as 27, with 1:43 to go, after Nieja Jordan finished off a three-point play, getting the hoop and the harm on a layup. Jordan finished with five points and four rebounds in just seven minutes.

“I thought Nieja had a really good basketball game,” Mims said. “He brought energy tonight and he’s a freshman I have a lot of confidence in, I think he’s gonna be a great player here.”

Every Panther that was healthy enough to play got on the floor Monday, with Jordan Majors being the only starter that did not score in double figures. He was under the weather, to say the least, and Mims played him just 24 minutes and he finished with two points.

Phil Bernhard even got in on the fun, hitting a three with 1:06 left, giving the Panthers a 107-83 lead.

For more info: Miles @ Florida Tech Box Score

The Panthers will close out the Florida Tech Winter Classic on Tuesday, when they play Shawnee State at 6:00 p.m. The Bears lost to Lynn on Monday in the opening game, 93-75.