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Panthers Besieged by Threes in Loss to ERAU

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Derek Murphy‘s 28 points paced the Panthers on Wednesday

The Embry-Riddle Eagles handed the Florida Tech Panthers their fourth straight loss Wednesday, with a lopsided 102-68 victory on the Panthers home court. It is the largest point differential in a Panthers loss this season. 

The Eagles shot 64.9 percent from the floor on this night, including an astonishing 18-for-28 (64.3 percent) from three-point range. They were also stellar from the free-throw line, hitting 10-of-11, good for 90.9 percent. 

“There was no slowing this team down tonight,” said Panthers coach Billy Mims after the game. “From the get-go they were hungry and they knocked down big shots on us. I thought they outworked us and their ball movement was smart.” 

In contrast, the Panthers shot 15.4 percent from three, going 4-for-26 and they were 16-of-29 from the charity stripe, a 55.2 percent clip. 

“I just thought we were lethargic tonight on offense and defense,” Mims said. “For a lot of the time tonight, I just felt like our feet were stuck in the mud.” 

Derek Murphy continued his breakout season, scoring 28 points and pulling down five rebounds. R.J. Coil finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Valur Valsson scored 10 points. 

Trey Schaneville, who set career-highs for points in the previous two games with 11 and 15 points respectively, was hurt on a hard foul that ended up being called against him with 8:12 to go in the first half. He did walk off under his own power and returned in the second half, but was limited to two points in 28 minutes. 

ERAU (9-11, 2-7 SSC) made six three-pointers early on and led 22-10 with 10:21 still to go in the first half. The Panthers were fighting an uphill battle from there, as the Eagles made eight of 16 threes in that first half and led 45-31 at the break. 

Things did not get much better for the Panthers in the second half, as the Eagles kept their foot on the gas. They led 81-55 with 7:14 to go in the ballgame and 97-67 with 1:41 left. Their biggest lead of the night was 35, 102-67 with 15 seconds to go. 

“Down 14 at the half that’s a margin you can come back from,” said Mims. “But you can’t come back from that when they hit eight threes in the first half and then they hit 10 threes in the second half. They were just as hot after halftime as they were to start the game and a lot of their threes in the second half came from bench guys.” 

With 2:47 left in the game, Mims emptied the bench and Harry Craik found his way on to the stat sheet with a tip in with 1:54 left. 

The Panthers (7-9, 1-7 SSC) next play host to Palm Beach Atlantic (7-9, 3-5 SSC) who beat a 10-win Barry team on Wednesday night. Saturday’s tilt at the Clemente Center will tip just after 4:00 p.m., following the women’s game.