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Panthers Season Ends With Loss to Sailfish

Derek Murphy secured his 10th double-double of the year in Saturday’s season finale. Donny Rieber Jr | Sports Lowdown

A disappointing 2018-2019 Florida Tech basketball season ended Saturday with an 81-64 loss to the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish in St. Petersburg. One bright spot for the Panthers this season was Derek Murphy. He ended his season with his 10th double-double, including 23-points and 10 rebounds.

Trey Schaneville was the only other Panther in double figures, finishing with 11 points. Antonis Pefanis,  Darius Wright, and Nieja Jordan all scored seven points apiece.

Florida Tech finished 8-20 overall, including 2-18 in the Sunshine State Conference. Saturday’s loss was their 10th straight, despite being in a lot of those games right to the bitter end.

Freshman Sesan Russell missed his second straight contest with an undisclosed issue. With nothing to play for, the decision to hold him out makes sense, as Panthers coach Billy Mims wants to give him every opportunity to be as healthy as possible going into the 2019-2020 season.

Things got off to a rough start for the Panthers as PBA got off to a 9-0 start. Schaneville got the Panthers on the board with a jumper and then hit from beyond the arc, cutting the Sailfish lead to four.

Another 9-0 run got the Sailfish out to a 22-10 lead with 11:29 to go. Back-to-back threes by Murphy, coupled with a layup by Mate Papai cut the deficit to five with 8:58 to go, but Paxton Wilson drilled a three for Palm Beach Atlantic, sparking a 9-2 run.

Schaneville’s three with 3:21 left in the half made it 34-26. The Sailfish would take a 39–33 lead into the locker room. They shot 38.7 percent in the first half, hitting 12-of-31 from the floor, including 5-of-12 from long range.

Schaneville picked up where he left off to start the second half. He drilled another three and the Panthers were in it, trailing 39-36, 33 seconds into the half. As they did for much of the afternoon, PBA had the answer, as De’Ondre Jackson knocked one down and got the lead back to six. Casey Carpinello’s back-to-back threes were part of what turned into a 13-0 run and that pretty much put things out of reach for the Panthers.

Michael Stones dunk with 8:15 to go, made it 67-44, but the Panthers answered with 10 straight points, highlighted by threes from Harry Craik and Wright with 7:09 to go. A layup by Murphy with 2:46 to go, cut the PBA lead to 11, 73-62, but that is as close as the Panthers would get. The Sailfish ended the game with an 8-2 run.

For more info: Florida Tech @ Palm Beach Atlantic Box Score

We would like to take this opportunity to thank coach Mims for his time and graciousness throughout this season during our postgame interviews. This is a young, but talented team that had a lot of time to learn the system and each other during this difficult season. The 2019-2020 season will likely be very different from this season, and we are looking forward to covering it.

Our thanks also to Daniel Supraner and the staff in Athletic Communications for their help all season long.