Tars Spoil Senior Night in Double-OT

The Florida Tech Panthers had their season end on a wild Wednesday night at the Clemente Center with a 94-92 double-overtime loss against the Rollins College Tars.

Prior to the game, the Panthers honored their five seniors. Phil Bernhard, Harry Craik, the Panthers all-time assist leader in Valur Valsson, Antonis Pefanis, and Derek Murphy. Coach Billy Mims also said after Wednesday’s game that sophomore Garrett Ellington has been battling injuries and that Ellington has made the decision to end his time with the team.

With 4:06 left in the second overtime and the game tied at 88, Murphy went for a slam and broke the rim. The game was delayed one hour, 45 minutes as the crew worked to replace the rim. While Murphy slammed the ball home, Sesan Russell was being fouled, so the dunk, unfortunately, didn’t count.

Russell made the free throws following the delay, but the Panthers were unable to hit key shots down the stretch. With the loss, the Panthers finished 11-17 overall, 5-15 in the conference, and 11-5 at home.

Murphy finished with another double-double, finishing with 22 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and he gets to take the broken rim home as a memento from his final game as a Florida Tech Panther.

Florida Tech shot 42.3 percent from the floor, going 33-for-78. They were 9-for-34 from behind the arc, (26.5 percent), and struggled from the free-throw line, hitting 17-of-25 (68 percent). The Tars were 14-for-33 from three-point range, with Kyle Marion and Connor McKim combining for 11 of them.

Jakobi Bonner hit 10 of his 11 free throws, helping the Tars hit 18-of-21 overall from the stripe.

The Panthers won the rebounding battle, 48-39 and had 29 second-chance points to the Tars 15. They held a 36-34 edge in points in the paint.

The Tars (14-13, 8-11 SSC) hit six of their first 12 threes and led 27-13. Russell then went on an individual seven-point run to close the gap to 27-20. After McKim hit a three, Trey Schaneville answered and it was 30-23. Murphy closed the gap to five and then Schaneville struck again from downtown, making it 30-28 with 4:20 to go in the half.

McKim hit another three later in the quarter to put the Tars up 37-30, but the Panthers fought back to make it 37-35. Dayton Gumm went toward the basket as time expired and hit a layup to give the Tars a 39-35 lead at the half.

Nieja Jordan started off what ended up being a great individual effort in the second half, scoring four straight points and tying the game at 39. Bonner then hit four free-throws, before Murphy’s three made it 42-41 with 17:34 left.

Each team traded buckets from there, with the game tied at 44, and 58 before Murphy drained another three with 7:35 to go, giving the Panthers a 61-58 lead. A three by Pefanis made it 64-60. After a Rollins bucket, the Panthers reeled off seven in a row, including a Russell three, upping the Panthers lead to 71-62.

A 10-1 run by Rollins tied the game at 72, with 44 seconds left. Russell and Jordan each hit one free throw, before the Panthers were burned by another buzzer-beater when Bonner went coast-to-coast to tie the game at 74 and sending this game to overtime.

Marion hit a three to start overtime and did so again with 2:08 left, giving Rollins an 80-79 lead. A free throw by Russell tied it at 80 before Marion hit yet again from downtown. Murphy and Marion traded layups, as the Tars continued to lead 85-82. Schaneville pulled the Panthers out of the fire, draining a three with 14 seconds left, tying the game at 85.

A three by Marion gave the visitors an 88-85 lead before Russell was fouled on a three-point attempt with 1.5 seconds left. He hit all three and the game went to overtime number two, tied at 88.

Russell made two free throws to start the period, but after Rollins tied it, a turnover led to two free throws for McKim and Rollins led 92-90. Murphy’s layup with 1:10 left tied things up, but another turnover led to a dunk for Gumm and that ended up being the game-winner.

For more info: Rollins @ Florida Tech Box Score

We would like to thank coach Mims for his time this season. It isn’t always easy to do two interviews back-to-back, especially depending on the result. The coach was always so giving of his time, and always such a great interview. His appreciation for what we do with the site is second-to-none and there aren’t words to show how much we appreciate it. We look forward to another season of Panthers basketball in November.