Florida Tech Falls Short Against Saint Leo, 64-69
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // January 4, 2015
Panthers 0-2 in the Sunshine State Conference
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Behind a career-night from Saint Leo forward Cale Girten, the Lions held off Florida Tech 69-64 in a physical contest to drop the Panthers to 0-2 in the Sunshine State Conference standings.
“I thought our team played hard tonight,” said head coach Billy Mims. “A couple free throws here, a big shot there and we would’ve had it.”
Stuck at the six-point mark for nearly five minutes early on, Florida Tech allowed a 7-0 Lion run, falling behind 9-6 with 15:18 remaining in the opening half. Saint Leo was hot out the gate, grabbing the lead on 3-of-3 shooting from both the field and charity stripe.
A Jordan Majors bucket from long range, one of six for the Panthers in the opening stanza, pushed the Crimson and Gray back ahead 13-11 with just over 12 minutes to play before the break.
In his first action of the season, Saint Leo transfer Adam Pohlman drained a triple to draw the Lions back even at 18 before senior Akeem Johnson answered the bell with a three-point play to give Florida Tech a 21-18 advantage.
Saint Leo had success shooting in the first half, converting on 60 percent of its field goals, but stellar team defense by the Panthers forced the Lions into 12 costly turnovers.
Behind Majors 11 points, Mims’ club found itself in front with a slim 29-27 lead heading into the locker room.
A blocking call on Chris Carter that drew disapproval from the Florida Tech sideline sent him to the bench with four fouls just one and one half minutes into the second half.
Clapping his hands, Corbin Jackson turned to his team saying “we’re good” after Coach Mims was nearly whistled for a technical foul. From there, Jackson raised his level of play.
On the ensuing possession, Jackson laid in a bucket and then dished an assist to Isaac Spence to put the Crimson and Gray in front 37-28, their largest lead of the game, at the 17:05 mark.
However, Pohlman created a wide open look for Girten from deep, one of four triples knocked down by the senior on the night. Just moments later Girten sunk another to cap a 14-2 Lion run, putting Saint Leo up 42-39.
Trailing by three with 1:56 on the clock, Carter connected from beyond the arc to even the score at 58 all.
But the night belonged to Girten, who splashed in the go-ahead three-pointer with only 38.6 seconds.
Finishing 18-of-22 from the free throw line, Saint Leo was able to ice the game and send FIT home with an unfortunate defeat.
Majors tied a career-high with 19 points, while Jackson ripped down an impressive 15 boards to go along with four blocks.
FIT will play host to Palm Beach Atlantic on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Live video, audio and stats for the nonconference matchup will be available at FloridaTechSports.com