The Florida Tech Panthers traveled to Fort Myers on Sunday and gave the Division I Florida Gulf Coast Eagles a run for their money, before running out of gas late and losing 62-54, in an exhibition game in Dunk City.
After scoring just 49 points in last years meeting between these two teams, the Panthers came to play this year with RJ Coil was the only Panther player in double figures with 21 points and 12 rebounds. He went 8-of-11 from the field, including four three-pointers.
Patrick Anderson, playing in just his second game of the season, scored nine points. He went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line and pulled down six rebounds.
Jordan Majors who finished with 21 points in Saturday’s loss to Palm Beach Atlantic, played the first four minutes of this game and did not return. There was no update given on the reason for his departure during the broadcast.
The Panthers led 46-44 with 6:55 left in the contest after Coil drained his fourth three of the half. Unfortunately, the visitors were unable to keep the momentum and watched the Eagles go on an 11-0 run and finish the game scoring 18 of the final 26 points.
The game got off to a slow start for both teams as the first points didn’t come until 2:37 into the game. Florida Tech didn’t score until Sam Daniel hit a three 4:18 in, tying the game at three. The game was again tied at 7, before FGCU went on a 14-1 run to go up 21-8, with 7:47 to go in the half.
Florida Tech hung in there, cutting the deficit to 21-14 with six minutes left and a layup by Anderson made it a 25-20 game with 2:52 to go. The Eagles would expand the lead to 32-23 at the half. There was history made in the half when Florida Gulf Coast junior Zach Johnson scored his 1,000th point in an Eagles uniform with 8:25 to go before the break.
Credit the Panthers because this could have been an ugly half, considering they shot 27.6 percent from the field, including going 2-for-15 from three-point range and committing 10 turnovers.
Things got better in the second half, as the Panthers clamped down on defense, giving the Eagles fits with the zone. That allowed them to go on a 12-2 run and cut that lead from 11, 42-31 with 16-22 to go, to one, 44-43 with 8:42 left.
That would force FGCU to call timeout only to see the Panthers take the lead on the Coil three-ball. The lead was erased by a Michael Gilmore dunk, tying the game at 46 with 6:44 left in the game. That sparked an 11-0 run that put the Eagles up 55-46 with 5:01 to go.
In the midst of that run, Daniel was called for a technical foul with 5:31 to go. It was his second technical in as many days, as he picked one up in Saturday’s game against PBA. Panthers coach Billy Mims had enough and sat Daniel down the rest of the game.
That was a disastrous way to end a very tough day for the senior. He finished with seven points on 3-of-17 shooting and yanked down six rebounds. That was the beginning of the end for the Panthers, who couldn’t recover.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Florida Gulf Coast Box Score
Florida Tech returns home Wednesday for a conference game against Florida Southern. The game is scheduled to tip at 7:30, but will likely be a bit later due to the women’s game that precedes it.