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Panthers Trounced by Tampa

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Derek Murphy

The Florida Tech men’s basketball team was on the wrong side of history Saturday night as they lost 99-69 to the Tampa Spartans at the Clemente Center. The victory was number 700 in the win column for Tampa coach Richard Schmidt, who is in his 36th year with the program. 

“I gave him the game ball, I gave him a hug and I said its been an honor to coach against you,” said Panthers coach Billy Mims after the game. “He’s truly one of the great coaches in college basketball and I knew he was going for number 700 tonight. I said thanks for putting us in the record books with you, and to show you the class that Richard Schmidt has, he put his arm around me and said, ‘And I’m honored to have coached against you, too.” 

It was a forgettable night for the Panthers, from the tip and the career-high 33 points put up by Derek Murphy was overshadowed by the dominance that Tampa had on display in this one. Murphy was an impressive 12-of-26 from the field, including 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. 

Mims said after the game that Murphy is dealing with an ankle injury, but wanted to play in this game. He scored the first seven points for his squad. 

Unfortunately, Murphy couldn’t do it alone and did not get much help from the Panthers usual scorers, as R.J. Coil had four points and nine rebounds, Antonis Pefanis had eight points and Valur Valsson had one point. 

Coil and Pefanis would both foul out of the game in the second half. 

“Tonight was just a bad night all around for our basketball team,” said Mims. “Young teams are gonna have nights like this, it’s not an anomaly, it’s one of those things that just happens with young teams. Tampa came hungry and we’re a young enough team that that hunger overwhelmed us tonight.” 

Freshman Trey Schaneville finished with nine points, including an early second-half spurt that saw him drain a three, and drop in a layup, accounting for five straight points. He also had two steals on the night. 

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Trey Schaneville

“Trey’s gonna be a good player, the only thing hurting him right now is that he missed all of our preseason with football, and he’s a hell of a football player,” said Mims. “It’s not about his talent — the reason he doesn’t play more right now, he doesn’t know everything yet, he still has so much of the system to learn. Once he really knows everything and is comfortable with everything, he’s gonna be a good addition to the program.” 

The Spartans led this one from start to finish. Anthony Gamble scored the first six points for his team and finished with 27 points, including seven three-pointers. Tampa was 15-for-27 from long distance in this game. 

A three-ball by Devon Colley put Tampa up 23-12 with 12:21 left in the half. It was his second three in just about a minute and a half. Tampa would lead by 15 with 8:02 to go in the half after a tip-in made it 34-19. They would extend the lead to 20 six minutes later after Freddy Ibrahim drilled a three.

A three by Murphy late in the half and a free-throw by Chris Cummings cut the lead to 46-30 at the break. 

Gamble started the second half just as he had the first, draining another three. Things just went downhill from there for the Panthers, as they never found an offensive rhythm in the second half. Tampa led 93-59 with 3:56 to go. The 34-point margin was the largest of the night and they would go on to outscore the Panthers 53-39 over the final 20 minutes. 

For more info: Tampa @ Florida Tech Box Score 

“All I care about is putting this behind us, getting ready for the next game and take the court with a different attitude,” said Mims. “Understand what caused us to get blown out tonight and know we can’t let that happen again.” 

“We’re practicing tomorrow,” Mims continued. There ain’t no day off. “We’re coming to take the court tomorrow and I can tell ya what, we’re gonna go hard.” 

The Panthers (5-3, 0-2 SSC) will host the Florida Tech Winter Classic on Tuesday, December 18th and Wednesday, the 19th. They will play Columbia International on Tuesday and Tiffin on Wednesday, with both games set to tip at 6:00 p.m.