Clutch Free Throws Help Secure Win For Panthers, 72-70
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // January 7, 2015
Corbin Jackson records a double-double
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Two free throws in the final 44 seconds were the difference in Florida Tech’s 72-70 win over Palm Beach Atlantic Tuesday night at the Clemente Center.
The Panthers (10-3) led by as many as 11 points with 2:03 remaining in the first half, but went into the locker room at the break with only a four-point lead, 38-34.
Evin Graham, who finished with 14 points for the Sailfish (5-6), hit the game-tying bucket less than six minutes into the second half.
From then until the 2:14 mark, FIT and Palm Beach Atlantic traded buckets as neither team held more than a two-point advantage.
Jermaine Jackson’s jumper with just over two minutes to play finally gave the Panthers a three-point lead.
That lead wouldn’t hold as Palm Beach Atlantic’s Garet Tucket went 1-of-2 at the line before he tied the game off an assist from Graham with 1:10 to play.
Jackson took the ball to the hoop with 44.3 seconds to play and his defender was called for a block. He went on to sink 1-of-2 at the line to give his team a 71-70 lead.
Clayton Williams’ three-pointer was off the mark on the following possession. Akeem Johnson was fouled on the rebound and he too went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe.
Graham rebounded Johnson’s second free throw, and Williams dribbled the ball down to his bench before calling a timeout with 3.9 seconds left.
When play resumed, Graham’s three-point attempt was off the mark, sealing the Panther win.
“Sometimes you lose games you should’ve won, and tonight I believe we won a game that we should’ve lost,” head coach Billy Mims said.
“The reason is in the first half of the ballgame, we built an 11-point lead with just over two minutes left. You never want to give the visiting team the momentum going into the locker room. We had a chance to hit a dagger going into halftime, but right now we lack the killer instinct to put teams away,” said Mims.
“I give Palm Beach Atlantic credit. Dave Balza is doing an outstanding job and he did a great job scouting us. They took us out of our rhythm and our offense.”
FIT received 23 points from its bench. Johnson contributed 11 of those points, but it was threes by Randy Echols, Nick Stahl and Caleb Wigginton in the second half that proved to be just as critical.
“Hats off to our bench, which outscored Palm Beach Atlantic’s bench 23-19,” Mims said.
“We had a big bucket by Nick Stahl late in the game. Randy Echols and Caleb Wigginton also hit big threes. Four of the six threes we hit came from our bench and that’s huge. I think they’re developing more and more confidence.”
Corbin Jackson punched his fifth double-double of the season with a team-high 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Jordan Majors (13 points), Chris Carter (12 points), Johnson and Jermaine Jackson (10 points) also scored in double figures for FIT.
The Panthers welcome Tampa to the Clemente Center on Saturday for a Sunshine State Conference contest.
Tip-off is at approximately 4 p.m. or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 2 p.m. women’s game between the 12-0 Panthers and Spartans.
Live video, audio and stats will be available for both games at FloridaTechSports.com/live