RJ Coil registered a monster double-double on Wednesday with 21 points and 17 rebounds, helping Florida Tech overcome a 10-point second half deficit and beat the host Tampa Spartans 64-60 in a Sunshine State Conference dogfight.
The Panthers were led by Coil but also got 13 points from Jordan Majors and 11 from Patrick Anderson. Florida Tech found themselves down 34-26 at the half, shooting just 34.6 percent (12-of-33). They were 2-of-9 behind the arc, getting one from Sam Daniel and one from Anderson. Valur Valsson scored seven points and dished eight assists.
They made the same 12 shots in the second half, shooting 44.4 percent. They finished 24-of-60 for the game (40 percent) and made all 11 of their free-throws.
With the victory, the Panthers moved to 11-12 overall and 6-9 in the conference. They remain one game behind Palm Beach Atlantic for the eighth spot in the standings. They are at PBA on February 17 but have Florida Southern and Barry, who are fifth and second in the standings respectively, to deal with first.
The Panthers were down 51-41 with 11:46 to go in the game an proceeded to go on a 13-2 run and took their first lead with 5:19 to go on a layup by Coil, giving his squad a 54-53 lead. Coil drove to the hole on the next possession and was rewarded with an old-fashioned three-point play, making it 57-53 with 3:36 to go.
After a layup by Tampa’s Pat Bacon, Daniel who sat for a solid eight minutes early in the second half hit a huge three-pointer. Daniel had just six points in the game, but none were bigger than those three, which gave the Panthers a 60-55 lead with 2:43 to go in the game.
After Mekhi Biffle hit two free-throws for Tampa, Anthony Gamble hit a game-tying three with 1:48 left in the contest. Majors got the lead back for the Panthers with a layup with 1:14 to go. Michael Milligan who was the only bench player to see action for FIT came up with a huge steal with 52 seconds left.
The Panthers came up empty on the possession, but after Tampa called timeout with 22 seconds left, they missed their next shot, a three by Gamble. Biffle was forced to foul with 2.9 seconds left and Milligan calmly hit two free throws, giving the Panthers a 64-60 lead and the victory. Milligan finished with six points.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Tampa Box Score
The Panthers road trip continues Saturday when they travel to Lakeland, FL to take on Florida Southern in another key conference showdown.