Header Pic: Aiste Vaitekunaite – Credit: Florida Tech Athletics
The Lynn Fighting Knights got a win on the road Saturday, beating the Florida Tech Panthers 53-47 in come from behind fashion. Florida Tech did not score in the final 3:26 of the contest.
The loss dropped the Panthers to 2-13 overall, and 0-10 in the Sunshine State Conference. Lynn improves to 6-7 overall, and 4-5 in the SSC.
“I think we played as bad as our record is,” said Panthers coach John Reynolds by phone after the game. “We didn’t get enough individual effort, therefore our team effort wasn’t there.”
Aiste Vaitekunaite was the only Panthers player in double figures with 13 points, while Fanny Paulin had eight. Lynn was led by Uloma Enyogasi’s 20.
It took 1:48 for Lynn to score the first points of the game before a Paulin three sparked a 7-0 run and gave Tech a five-point lead. They would score just two more points on a Makyla Daniels basket before the end of the quarter and lead 9-8 after 10 minutes.
Daniels would get another basket with 3:12 left in the second quarter to give the Panthers a 15-14 lead in a back-and-forth quarter. Paulin would score to put the Panthers up by three. Lynn would take a 20-19 lead with 27 seconds left, but Lynn fouled Lina Stranger-Johannessen on a three-point attempt. She made all three free throws and gave the Panthers a 22-20 lead at the half.
“At the half, they had 14 turnovers and we were up two,” said Reynolds. “We didn’t capitalize and I told the players that wasn’t a good sign for us.”.
Florida Tech would go up 25-22 when Vaitekunaite completed a three-point play with 9:36 left. She would make another basket moments later to put her team up five. A three by Hannah Roney and free throws by Cheyenne Scott made it 32-22 with 6:49 left in the third, putting the finishing touches on a 10-0 run.
Lynn would cut the lead to seven before the end of the quarter but the Panthers lead 34-27 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Vaitekunaite had a free throw and a bucket to give the Panthers a 37-29 lead, but those would be the only Panthers points in the midst of an 11-3 run by Lynn that tied the game at 40 with 5:21 left.
Scott had a free throw and a basket that gave Florida Tech a 43-40 lead with 3:26 left. Loie Webb made two threes for Lynn during the next sequence and that put Lynn up 48-46 with 33 seconds left. They would close the game out from the free-throw line.
“In the fourth, we decided we weren’t gonna guard anybody,” said Reynolds. “We didn’t execute any offense. I thought we were flat and there just wasn’t enough toughness.”
For more info: Lynn @ Florida Tech Box Score
Florida Tech shot 32 percent from the floor (15-for-60). They made just three of their 20 three-point attempts (15 percent) and went 12-for-18 from the free-throw line (66.7 percent).
“There are going to be nights you don’t shoot well,” Reynolds said. “It happens, but when you’re out of sync shooting, you have to play defense and our defense was soft. We didn’t do the job we were supposed to do.”
Reynolds promised there would be adjustments made before the Panthers travel to Saint Leo on Saturday, January 22 for their next game. He knows that game will present challenges.
“They are as good as anyone in the league,” he said. “They are similar to Tampa in that they can beat you in a lot of different ways.”
Saturday’s game tips off at 2:00 p.m.