Panthers Hold On Against Nova Southeastern, 77-74
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // January 24, 2015
12-6 overall and 2-5 in conference
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Florida Tech received big games from Chris Carter, Corbin Jackson and Caleb Wigginton in a 77-74 victory at Nova Southeastern’s Don Taft University Center on Saturday.
The Panthers jump to 12-6 overall and 2-5 in Sunshine State Conference play, while the Sharks fall to 6-10, 2-5 SSC.
After recording the eighth triple-double in NCAA Division II this season, Carter finished just one rebound away from his second triple-double this week. He finished with 15 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and three steals, while playing all 40 minutes.
Jackson notched his fourth straight double-double and ninth of the season going 12-of-13 from the field for a team-high 24 points and he pulled down 11 rebounds in 38 minutes.
However, the player of the game might have very well been Caleb Wigginton, whose 20 points were a new career-high for the freshman. He also had six rebounds, two steals, one block and one assist in 37 minutes played.
“The bottom line is Caleb played with a lot of energy,” head coach Billy Mims said.
“He’s had three great games in a row. The freshman from Kentucky is playing like the guy I knew he could be and the guy I fell in love with when I went up to watch him in the high school playoffs last year.”
“Unbelievable effort by him. One of the guys on the bench said to me that they thought Caleb was playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said Mims.
Carter talked about the relationship he has had with Wigginton and the confidence the team has in him.
“I’ve been trying to be that bigger brother to Caleb since the season started,” said Chris Carter.
“I tell him ‘have confidence, man. You’re out here with us and we believe in you. We want you to shoot the ball every time you touch it. Just let it go.’ Today, he shot the ball great, had crucial rebounds and steals. He played great.”
Trailing by 10 with 2:42 to go, Nova Southeastern’s Brian Cahill made it a one-point game with 33 seconds remaining following his fifth three-pointer. Carter was fouled on the ensuing possession and he missed his first of a one-and-one. Wigginton corralled the miss and was immediately fouled with 16 seconds on the clock. He would hit both free throws as FIT took a three-point lead.
Nova Southeastern’s Chris Page had a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer in the final seconds, but his shot circled around the rim and fell out.
“When we come off the bench, coach tells us to elevate the energy,” Wigginton said.
“That’s what we’re in there to do and everything else falls into place. … I have confidence when I shoot the ball because my teammates tell me to shoot the ball.
Coach has told me ‘when you’re open, you have the freedom to shoot the ball.’ That’s enough confidence for me.”
The Panthers dominated the paint, outscoring the Sharks 40-16 and outrebounding them 41-20.They also won second chance points 16-2, fast break points 8-2 and bench scoring 28-27.
FIT will take off Sunday before it starts preparing for Lynn on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Clemente Center.
Live video, audio and stats will be available at FloridaTechSports.com/live