The Florida Tech Panthers were staying with the Nova Southeastern Sharks for about 13 minutes on Saturday, but in the end, the fourth-ranked team in the nation showed they deserved that ranking, taking it to the Panthers, 122-84 in Fort Lauderdale.
Antonis Pefanis scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Panthers, going 4-for-8 from three-point range. Derek Murphy finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Trey Schaneville scored 11 points, going 2-for-5 from beyond the arc. Valur Valsson had nine assists and three steals, to go along with five points.
Nova (21-2, 15-2 SSC) had six scorers in double figures. Nick Smith and Mikkel Kolstad finished with 20 points each. Smith was 5-of-6 from three-point range and Kolstad was 6-for-7.
The Sharks started the game on a 6-0 run and the Panthers answered with eight straight, helped by threes from Murphy and Pefanis. Kolstad answered with a three, giving his team a 9-8 lead with 16:50 to go.
Florida Tech (8-16, 2-14 SSC) stayed with the Sharks for a bit, before Nova got up 21-15 on a three by Eddie Puisis. The home team went up nine with 9:23 to go, before the Panthers got it down to five, 31-26 with 7:52 to go. That’s when the wheels came off for the Panthers.
A 13-0 run by Nova made it 44-26 and they kept their foot on the gas pedal, ending the half on a 27-9 run, taking a 58-35 lead into the break.
Valsson drained a three to start the second half, cutting the lead to 20. Smith answered with a three-point play and Kolstad hit consecutive threes to make it 70-40 1:59 into the second half. The Panthers got it down to 26, only to see Smith drain another three with 15:49 to go. He would drill another with 11:53 to go, putting his team up 87-52.
Kolstad kept the barrage going, hitting back-to-back threes and it was 93-54 with 10:25 left. The Sharks led by 40 a couple times, but a three from Pefanis cut it to 32, 100-68 with less than seven minutes left. Three consecutive three-pointers by the Sharks got it back to 40, 109-69.
Mike Moore ended the scoring with a three of his own, with 31 seconds left, giving Nova the 44-point final margin.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Nova Southeastern Box Score
Florida Tech has now lost six in a row. They will look to snap that streak against Embry-Riddle in Daytona on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.