After a sluggish first half on Wednesday, the Florida Tech Panthers hit eight of their 12 three-pointers in the second Stanza, helping them to beat Embry-Riddle 80-63 in a Sunshine State Conference men’s basketball tilt. It was the fourth straight win for FIT, as they improved to 10-8 overall and 5-5 in the conference. With the loss, the Eagles dropped to 8-10 overall and 2-8 in the SSC.
Jordan Majors led the Panthers with 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting. He was 4-for-8 behind the arc and pulled down seven rebounds. Valur Valsson finished with 17 points and six assists and Sam Daniel finished with 16 points, 10 of those in the second half. He had seven rebounds as well. RJ Coil led the Panthers on the glass with 10, to go along with eight points.
The Panthers started well, going on an 8-0 run to begin the game, but it didn’t last long as Joshua Hawkins gave his squad their first lead of the night with a layup as the clock ticked down to 13:30 left in the half. A three by Valsson followed and the Panthers led 13-11. That was part of an 8-0 run capped by a Daniel three, giving the Panthers an 18-11 lead with 12:13 to go.
FIT widened the lead to 29-21 before Embry-Riddle cut it to 29-27 with 2:57 to go. A Michael Milligan basket was answered at the other end and Florida Tech held a slim 31-29 advantage at the break. Both teams struggled from the floor in the first 20 minutes, with FIT shooting 39 percent (13-of-33) and the Eagles going 11-of-30, good for 36.7 percent.
Valsson led his team with eight points at the break and Nashad Mackey was the only player in double figures with 11, leading ERAU.
Elijah Jenkins gave the home team a 32-31 lead out of the break with a three-pointer and they led 35-33 with 18:07 left. That’s when the wheels came off for the Eagles.
After Daniel laid one in to tie the game, Majors hit a three to make it 38-35. The Eagles cut it to one, only to see Valsson hit back-to-back three’s to make it 46-40. Majors struck again from deep on the next possession and it was 49-43 with 13 and a half minutes left.
A three by Daniel with 9:50 to go made it 59-49 and consecutive three’s by Majors and Daniel made it 65-51. The Panthers, helped by those eight long-range buckets, finished a 32-16 run. They did not make another three down the stretch, but they didn’t need one.
Florida Tech went 20-of-36 from the field (55.6 percent) in that second half. They were 8-for-17 (47.1 percent) from deep. With that second-half surge, the Panthers ended up going 33-of-69 from the field (47.8 percent), turning a dismal first half into an impressive final total.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Embry-Riddle Box Score
The Panthers will look to keep their win streak going Saturday at Eckerd. The tip is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.