The Florida Tech Panthers dropped their final road game of the season Wednesday, losing at Tampa 59-51. With the loss, the Panthers finish 0-10 on the road in the conference and go 0-12 overall away from the Clemente Center overall.
Without a couple of top players on the floor for both teams, this wasn’t a pretty game. Pat Bacon was out for Tampa and Sesan Russell was missing his second straight game for the Panthers.
Jalen Hodges led the Panthers with 14 points and Runako Ziegler finished with 10. Derek Murphy, who averages 21.3 points per game this season, was held to three points on 1-for-7 shooting. He did pull down four rebounds. Valur Valsson led the Panthers with seven rebounds and four assists. He added two points.
Tampa (7-18, 4-13 SSC) was led by Derrick Felder’s 23 points, with Martin Lakovic finishing with 16. Brent Duncan finished with 16 rebounds, and at one point in the first half, outrebounded the Panthers team, 9-7.
The first half of this one was ugly on both sides. With the Panthers going 7-for-26 (26.9 percent) from the field and 1-for-10 from three-point range. Tampa wasn’t much better, going 8-for-27 (29.6 percent), including 1-for-8 (12.5 percent). Both teams were 5-for-6 from the free-throw line.
The one three the Panthers hit in that first half came from Trey Schaneville with 11:37 left, tying the game at seven. Schaneville finished with nine points, including 3-for-7 from three-point range.
Tampa jumped back in front 14-9 before a dunk by Hodges cut it to three. The teams traded buckets for the remainder of the half, and the Panthers went to the locker room down 22-20.
The teams shot better in the second half, with Hodges getting a hoop and the harm to start things and the Panthers took their first lead of the night 23-22, 20 seconds in. Another Schaneville three 1:00 in made it 26-25. The Spartans followed with a 7-0 spurt and went up 32-26 with 4:55 gone in the half.
The Panthers (11-15, 5-13 SSC) got it back to five when a three by Nieja Jordan made it 37-32. Tampa got the lead up to 44-34 before Hodges and Ziegler hit back-to-back shots, and a dunk by Hodges would cut it to 44-40.
A free-throw got Tampa back up by five before Schaneville drained another long ball to close the gap to 45-43. A Duncan layup with 5:07 to go sparked a 6-0 run for Tampa, as they went up 51-43. From there, it was a free-throw fest and the Panthers got no closer than five points.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Tampa Box Score
Florida Tech returns to the Clemente Center on Saturday, February 22 to play host to Nova Southeastern. The game is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.