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Team Effort Carries Panthers to Victory Over Tampa

Jordan Majors – Photo: Sports Lowdown

Jordan Majors scored a season-high 32 points Saturday, helping host, Florida Tech beat the Tampa Spartans 96-74 and win their third consecutive conference game. Majors was 11-of-16 from the field and went 5-of-6 from three-point range.

“What’s ironic is how well Jordan Majors is playing right now,” said Panthers coach Billy Mims. “Last week he was the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week and I’d be shocked if he’s not the conference player of the week again this week. His numbers this week are better than they were last week.”

Patrick Anderson had 19 points and seven steals, while Sam Daniel put up another double-double, his fifth of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds. RJ Coil rounded out the Panthers double-digit scorers with 13 points six rebounds and although Valur Valsson did not score in this game, he did dish out a game-high 11 assists, including a pretty behind-the-back feed.

“He can really see the floor,” Mims said of Valsson. “Sometimes he’ll throw the ball in places you think it’s impossible to get it there but not only does he see it, he can get it there.”

Florida Tech (9-8, 4-5 SSC) led from the opening tip but Tampa did stay with them early, with Anthony Gamble, Marcel Robinson, and Alberto Moreno all hitting a three within the first five and a half minutes of the game and tying the score at 11.

Majors rattled home the Panthers first three of the contest 17 seconds after Moreno’s three and that sparked a 10-0 run by Florida Tech, bookended by another Majors three-ball. A three by Gamble with 9:38 to go in the first half got the Spartans to within four, 27-23, but a basket byMajors and a three by Anderson gave the Panthers a 32-23 lead.

The Panthers would go on a 9-0 run moments later, capped by a Darius Wright three-pointer, giving the home team a 43-27 lead with 2:45 to go in the half. Majors would hit one more three with 1:04 to go and Florida Tech took a 48-36 lead to the locker room.

Tampa (7-8, 3-6 SSC) went 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from behind the arc in the first half and 7-of-7 from the charity stripe, without that, things would have been much worse than their 12-point deficit. Florida Tech went 18-for-31 (58.1 percent) from the floor and 5-for-14 (35.7 percent) from three-point land.

The Spartans turned the ball over 24 times in this game but at the start of the second half, it was the Panthers who were careless with the basketball. They turned it over twice in a short span and although Valsson assisted on a big dunk by Majors, Gamble drained another three with 16:07 to go in the game, cutting Tampa’s deficit to seven, 53-46.

Daniel turned it over and committed a foul that got Mims fired up on the bench and earned Daniel a seat at the other end with 15:44 to go. After the media timeout, Anderson and Majors hit back-to-back three’s, extending the Panthers lead to 59-46. Majors then hit two free-throws and another hoop, giving him a personal seven-point run and giving the Panthers a 17 point lead.

They would extend it to 19 with 10:06 to go after a dunk by Coil and a three by Majors gave the Panthers a 79-55 lead with 7:55 to go, that’s when Daniel returned to the lineup. They would get that lead to 31, 96-65 with 2:07 to go on a jumper by Majors.

With 3:03 to go in the game, Mims cleared his bench, allowing freshman Mate Papai to get a basket and sophomore Harry Craik an assist. Freshman Nieja Jordan made a layup with 2:07 to go, accounting for the Panthers final points.

“It’s good to get everybody in the game,” Mims said. “They come off the bench late in the game and still make an offensive impact on our teams’ success.”

For more info: Tampa @ Florida Tech Box Score

The Panthers now hit the road for a pair of games, starting Wednesday when they take on Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach. The tip will follow the women’s game, somewhere in the neighborhood of 7:30 p.m. They will follow that up with a visit to Eckerd on Saturday, with the tip around 4:00 p.m.

“We’re 3-1 on the road in the league,” said Mims. “So we are actually a pretty confident team right now on the road. We beat Nova Southeastern when they were ranked 24th in the nation on the road, we beat Barry when they were seventh in the nation and unbeaten in our league, on the road. Our team feels confident no matter where we play right now.”