Three-Ball Carries Panthers Over Rollins

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown Valur Valsson scored a career-high 21 points on Wednesday, going 7-for-10 behind the arc.

The Florida Tech Panthers earned their second Sunshine State Conference win of the season Wednesday, cruising to an 88-65 win over the Rollins College Tars in Winter Park. The win snaps a five-game losing streak for the Panthers. 

Florida Tech (8-10, 2-8 SSC) shot the lights out from downtown, hitting 18-of-43 threes overall (41.9 percent). They had nine in each half. The Panthers were 30-of-64 from the field, a 46.9 percent clip. 

All five Florida Tech starters scored in double figures led by Valur Valsson, who finished with a career-high 21 points. He shot the lights out. hitting his first six shots from three-point range. He finished 7-of-10 from the field, all of them from behind the arc. 

Derek Murphy finished with a double-double, going for 18 points and 10 rebounds, Sesan Russell, who had a 21-point debut on Saturday, followed that with an 18 point perfprmance on Wednesday. Antonis Pefanis had 17 points, and Trey Schaneville missed tying his career-high by one, finishing with 14 points. 

No Panther starter played less than 35 minutes. 

Florida Tech did all of this without R.J. Coil, who missed this game due to the dislocated shoulder he suffered during Saturday’s home loss against Palm Beach Atlantic. 

Rollins (9-9, 3-7 SSC) started with a 7-2 lead, but Valsson’s first three came with 15:41 to go. Pefanis hit one 34 seconds later, closing the gap to 9-8. Schaneville was next up, drilling a trey with 14:23 to go, tying the game at 11. Valsson would strike again, hitting back-to-back threes and giving the Panthers a 17-11 lead with 13:07 left in the first.  

Rollins cut the lead to one with 10:26 to go thanks to a three, only to see Valsson drill another. Of Florida Tech’s first 15 shots, 11 of them were from three-point range. Rollins kept chipping away and made it 33-29 with 5:11 left, but the Panthers got a three from Russell and he would hit a layup as the buzzer sounded, giving the Panthers a 42-35 lead at the half. 

Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown

Valsson finished with 15 points, hitting all five shots from deep. The Panthers were 16-of-31 from the field in the first 20 minutes, including 9-for-21 from three.  

Rollins started the second half scoring the first five points and just like that, it was 42-40. Pefanis and Valsson put an end to tht noise in a hurry, hitting back-to-back threes, and setting off a 15-0 run and giving the Panthers a 57-40 lead with 16:34 left in the game. 

Russell would hit a three moments later, giving the visitors a commanding 60-42 lead and the Panthers never looked back, going up by 22, 80-58 with 7:12 to go. A three by Schaneville would give the Panthers a 25 point lead and a three by Pefanis would make it a 26-point difference, 88-62 with 3:05 to go.  

That would be the last basket for the Panthers, with 3:05 to go, as coach Billy Mims finally took his starters out with 1:04 left in the contest. 

For more info: Florida Tech @ Rollins Box Score 

The Panthers road trip continues Saturday, as they will take on Eckerd in Saint Petersburg. The game is scheduled to tip around 4:00 p.m., following the women’s game.