Eckerd had four players in double figures Saturday, as they handled Florida Tech 65-56 in the opening game of conference play at the Clemente Center.
Florida Tech shot 17-for-49 for the game, equating to 34.7 percent from the field. They were 17-of-25 from the charity stripe, converting a dismal 68 percent. On the flip side, Eckerd was 15-for-17 from the line.
“With five and a half minutes to go in that game, we were 8-for-15 from the free-throw line,” said Panthers coach John Reynolds in his postgame interview with Jim Mitchell. “Points in the paint killed us cause they took us off the dribble anytime they wanted to. We gotta do a few things to get better and one is we gotta make free-throws.”
Gracie Doane was the only Panther player in double figures, with 16 points. Fanny Hakanson had five rebounds to lead the Crimson and Gray, while Cheyenne Scott led with three assists. Makyla Daniels was 4-for-7 from the floor and scored eight points.
“I thought Keke Daniels played good for us today,” said Reynolds. “The freshman had her first chance at a start in a conference game and I thought she had a good game.”
The Tritons used a 20-14 second quarter that included a 9-0 run as the quarter came to a close. On the other side, Florida Tech did not score in the last 2:49 of the half. They had three turnovers in that span.
Things got off to a good start for the Panthers, who scored the first seven points of the game, but a 6-0 run by the Tritons tied the game at 13 and the two teams were tied at 15 as the first quarter came to a close.
Doane and Tereza Sedlakova each made a three in the second quarter and with 5:18 to go, the Panthers were up 23-18 and extended it to seven. Doane would hit from outside again with 2:49 left, putting the Panthers up 28-20. That’s when things fell apart, as the Tritons ended the half with that 9-0 run and led 29-28.
Eckerd led 16-4 in points in the paint and 10-1 in points off turnovers at halftime.
“They capitalized every time we turned the ball over,” Reynolds said. “Three turnovers under two minutes to go in the half, really determined the outcome of the game.”
That run extended to 15-1 to start the third quarter and Eckerd’s lead was 39-29 with 4:54 left in the quarter. They would lead 45-36 as the third came to a close.
The fourth quarter was even throughout, with the Panthers getting no closer than seven points. Each team scored 20 points in the final 10 minutes.
For more info: Eckerd @ Florida Tech Box Score
“We’ve lost five straight,” said Reynolds. “We’ve been in every game late in the game and then somebody does something that’s not conducive to us being successful, and then we turn it over.
Florida Tech does not play again until Saturday, December 8th, welcoming Tampa to the Clemente Center for a Sunshine State Conference game. The tip is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.