Panthers Win 86-74 In Men’s Basketball Home Opener

By  //  November 23, 2014

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Daniel comes off bench to score 18 points

Florida Tech Freshman Sam Daniel doubled his previous season-high of nine points against Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Saturday night at the Clemente Center. (Ryan Seeloff image)

Florida Tech Freshman Sam Daniel came off the bench to set season-highs with 18 points and eight rebounds in Florida Tech’s 86-74 victory against Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Saturday night at the Clemente Center. (Ryan Seeloff image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech Freshman Sam Daniel came off the bench to set season-highs with 18 points and eight rebounds in Florida Tech’s 86-74 victory against Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Saturday night at the Clemente Center.

Daniel surpassed his previous season-high of nine points, totaled in his first collegiate game against Paine on Nov. 14, in only 19 minutes on Saturday. He finished 6-of-7 from the field and 6-of-11 from the free throw line.

Rio Piedras hung with FIT for the entire first half despite finishing the first 20 minutes with a 33.3 field goal percentage.

Jermaine Jackson’s nine points led the Panthers at the break as they took a 36-32 lead into the locker room.

Billy Mims

Billy Mims

“He averaged 31 points per game in high school,” head coach Billy Mims said. “Sam has always been a proven scorer. He did a great job today. I was really pleased with the effort he gave us off the bench.”

Almost one year ago, the Crimson and Gray led 36-31 at intermission before Rio Piedras outscored the Panthers in the second half 34-28 to steal a one-point win in the Clemente Center.

Mims said the Panthers weren’t going to let that happen on Saturday.

“I thought our starters came out of the locker room saying we’re not letting this happen again, not like last year,” he said. “In the first 10 minutes of the second half, the starting five made a strong defensive statement and we started executing on offense. When we started executing, we had great looks and easy scores. That helped open the gap.”

Daniel scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half, and Jackson contributed 10 in only eight minutes.

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FIT connected on 17 of its 28 second-half shots and held the Gallitos to 36.8 percent shooting from the field. Turnovers prevented Rio Piedras from losing by a larger deficit as the Panthers committed 10 in the final 20 minutes to the Gallitos’ two.

The Panthers dominated the paint, outscoring their counterpart 50-22. They also pushed the ball down the court, scoring 14 fast break points to the Gallitos’ zero.

Puerto Rico-Mayaguez will head to the Clemente Center on Monday for a 7 p.m. contest. Live video, audio and stats will be available at FloridaTechSports.com/live.


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