Florida Tech men’s basketball coach Billy Mims earned his 600th career victory in exciting fashion on Saturday, as his Panthers erased a 15-point deficit to beat Palm Beach Atlantic 86-77 at Rubin Arena.
Jordan Majors had 32 in Wednesday night’s loss to Barry and matched that point total on Saturday. He also ripped down seven rebounds and had three assists. Valur Valsson had 13 points and nine assists, Sam Daniel played 25 minutes but fouled out with 11 points. RJ Coil had yet another double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds, rounding out the double-digit scorers for Florida Tech.
The Panthers (12-14, 7-11 SSC) struggled in the first half but stayed afloat with a late comeback to end the half down 42-37. No such struggles in the second half, as they used a 19-4 run late in the half to outscore the Sailfish 49-35 in the second half.
The first half went back-and-forth for about 4 1/2 minutes with Majors layup giving the Panthers an 11-10 lead, only to see Marshall Riddle knock down a three with 15:25 to go, giving his team a 13-11 lead. Majors would hit a three moments later, tying the game at 14.
That was short-lived as the Sailfish ripped off 15 straight points to lead 29-14 with 9:02 left in the half. Florida Tech clawed away at the deficit, starting with a three-pointer by Antonis Pefanis. A three from Valsson ended an eight-point run and cut the lead to 29-22 with 6:29 to go.
Riddle hit another three to extend it to 10 and it was 38-25 with 4:11 left in the half. The Panthers did not go down easily, as they scored nine straight points, highlighted by a Michael Milligan three-pointer. Just like that the Panthers were back in it, 38-34 and would go to the locker room down 42-37.
A three-ball and a four-point play by Riddle got the Sailfish back up 52-42 with 16:07 to go and at that point, it seemed the home team had all the momentum. The Panthers took it away in a hurry.
Majors, Patrick Anderson and Daniel combined to cut the lead to 55-50 with 12:45 to go and a three from Majors with 9:16 left, gave the Panthers their first lead in a while, 61-60. Milos Kostic got the Sailfish back within two 65-63, but a 9-2 Panthers run made it 74-64 with 3:09 left.
Jules Jasmin scored to make it 78-71 with just over a minute left, but they would get no closer as the Panthers were able to lock it down.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Palm Beach Atlantic Box Score
The Panthers return to the Clemente Center Wednesday night to take on Embry-Riddle in a key Sunshine State Conference game. Tipoff will follow the women’s game, shortly after 7:30 p.m.