In what has to go down as one of the most disappointing performances of the season, the Florida Tech Panthers were downed 90-71 at Eckerd on Saturday in a Sunshine State Conference game. The loss snapped the Panthers four-game winning streak.
The Tritons (15-3, 8-3 SSC) had five players in double figures. Drushaun McLaurn, Blake Morrow and Trevon Young all finished with 18, while Marco Behori chipped in with 16. Patrick Anderson matched the game-high with 18 of his own for FIT.
Florida Tech (10-9, 5-6 SSC) shot 44.8 percent for the game (26-of-58) and got down early, thanks to an 11-for27 showing in the first half. A team that relies so much on their three-point shooting, the Panthers were 2-of-14 in the first half and finished the game 5-for-23 (21.7 percent). Eckerd was 6-for-19 from distance overall.
Sam Daniel (1) and Jordan Majors (5) combined for six points in the first half as the zone defense by the Tritons was smothering Florida Tech for much of the first 20 minutes. They rebounded nicely in the second half, with Daniel finishing with 17 and Majors 15.
Eckerd started the game on a 7-0 run and after Jordan Majors scored for Florida Tech, the Tritons were running again scoring another seven straight and led 14-2. Florida Tech made it 17-11 with a run of their own, but Eckerd kept them at a safe distance for the rest of the half.
As you might expect, Panthers coach Billy Mims was not happy with the way things were going and picked up a technical foul with 3:25 left in the half and his team down 38-25. He was letting the officials hear it and he took that opportunity to take his starters out including Majors, Daniel and Anderson and bring Mate Papai, Darius Wright, and Neija Jordan in, along with Harry Craik.
The shakeup didn’t help much, as the Panthers found themselves down 44-27 at the half. Eckerd dominated in all facets, including a 26-11 advantage in rebounding, a 16-2 run in second-chance points and led 24-12 in points in the paint.
Valur Valsson scored the first points of the second half for the Panthers with 17:37 left, making it 49-29. A 7-0 run by the Panthers was capped by a Daniel three with 13:10 to go, cutting the deficit to 55-43. The Tritons answered with a 9-0 streak making it 64-43.
Anderson and Daniel hit three’s on consecutive possessions and the Panthers were down 74-59, but things got sloppy on both sides later in the half and the teams were over-aggressive leading to a lot of fouls on both sides. No doubt the Panthers couldn’t wait to get out of Saint Petersburg.
When all was said and done, the Panthers were outrebounded 45-22 and did not have a single fast-break point in this game. The Tritons held a 23-6 advantage in second-chance points and were 30-of-34 from the free-throw line.
For more Info: Florida Tech @ Eckerd Box Score
Florida Tech returns home Wednesday night to take on the Rollins College Tars. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 start, but will likely start a bit later, as the women’s game will come first.