The Eckerd Tritons rode a strong first half to a 90-78 victory over Florida Tech on Wednesday night at the McArthur Center in St. Petersburg. Florida Tech has now lost five in a row.
Florida Tech (10-14, 4-12 SSC) had four players in double figures, led by Runako Ziegler, who finished with a game-high 25 points, going 10-of-15 from the field. Sesan Russell was 6-for-12 from the field, getting 19 points.
Derek Murphy in what would be considered an off game for him, finishing with 12 points. He was 4-for-17 from the field. He was 3-for-9 from three-point range. Jalen Hodges rounded out the top scorers for the Panthers, going for 10 points.
Florida Tech finished the night 29-of-62 from the floor (46.8 percent) and went 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) from three-point range. They were good from the charity stripe, going 14-for-17 (82.4 percent).
The Tritons (8-15, 4-11 SSC) were led by Admir Radoncic and his 21 points. He was one of five Eckerd players in double figures. The Tritons won the rebounding battle 41-27.
Eckerd led this one from the get-go, helped by a 6-0 run to start the game. Antonis Pefanis nailed an early three, making it 10-6. Murphy’s three knocked the Eckerd lead down to 16-9 with 13:51 to go. It took Eckerd less than three minutes to get the lead back up to 15, 26-11.
Nieja Jordan’s three-ball made it 28-18, but a Travis Bianco three made it 33-20. Ziegler hit a three with 5:23 to go, to make it 37-27. A 9-0 run by Eckerd followed moments later, and the Panthers found themselves down 46-29 with 1:37 to go. A three from Murphy broke up the run and cut it to 14. Niall Harris hit the last bucket of the half, making it 46-34 at the horn.
Eckerd scored the first five points of the half, helped by another three from Bianco. A 6-0 run with 13:44 to go on a Jaylen Hodges hoop. A three by Murphy with 12:34 to go, made it 58-52. After an Eckerd three-point play by Myron Hagins made it 61-52, Ziegler scored four straight making it a 61-56 game with 11:07 to go.
An 11-2 run by Eckerd soon followed really hurt the Panthers momentum, as they went down 72-58. Florida Tech didn’t trail by less than 14 until they got baskets from Russell and Ziegler in the final 20 seconds to get to the 12-point difference in the final score.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Eckerd Box Score
The Panthers have now lost 7 of their last nine games and are still winless in 10 road games. They return home Saturday February 16 to host Embry-Riddle. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.