Panthers Ready For Challenge On Saturday, 2 P.M. Tipoff
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // January 9, 2015
Top 25 matchup set for excitement
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – With Sunshine State Conference play finally in full swing, No. 23 Florida Tech looks to build upon its best start in school history as it prepares to face No. 21 Tampa Saturday at 2 p.m.
The matchup with the Spartans will be Florida Tech’s first against a ranked opponent on the season.
The Panthers knocked off Palm Beach Atlantic for the second time in less than two months Tuesday night to reach a program-best 12-0, surpassing the 11-0 start by the 2008-09 squad.
The 74-63 final score, however, was not indicative of Florida Tech’s struggles throughout.
“In a league like ours, there really is no top or bottom,” said head coach John Reynolds.
“Every game is going to come down to a couple possessions, and this will be no different.”
The Crimson and Gray shot 33.8 percent from the field, including 24.0 percent from beyond the arc, and turned the ball over 22 times.
Additionally, Palm Beach Atlantic didn’t miss from the field nearly nine minutes into the first half, forcing the Panthers to trail at the break for just the second time this year.
A 14-2 run midway through the second half lengthened Florida Tech’s lead to 13, though, and proved to be enough to withstand a late charge from the Sailfish.
Forward Jasmire Brown scored in double figures for the sixth straight game, tallying a team-high 17 points to go along with seven boards, while Tiesha Flagler recorded her second double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds of her own.
Behind 13-year head coach Tom Jessee, Tampa hopes to gain traction after stumbling to conference foe Eckerd 55-44 en route to its first SSC loss Wednesday evening.
The Spartans outscored Eckerd 34-23 in the second half, but after shooting 13.6 percent on top of committing 11 turnovers, Tampa didn’t have enough gas to overcome a steep 32-10 halftime deficit.
After jumping out to a 5-1 start, Jessee’s club has alternated wins and losses in its last six contests to fall to 8-4 on the year.
Leading the way for UT is two-time SSC Player of the Week Juliana Cavallaro, who enters Saturday posting averages of 15.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
FIT has split its last eight meetings with UT, with the Spartans coming away with a 76-68 overtime victory in the most recent series matchup.
For complete coverage of Saturday’s SSC contest, log onto FloridaTechSports.com.
Jim Mitchell and Paul Van Scott will have the call live from the Clemente Center.