Florida Tech Panthers Battle From 15-Point Deficit To Defeat Paine 94-92
By Florida Tech // November 15, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Down by as many as 15 points in the second half, Florida Tech’s Jermohn Queen drained a pair of free throws with 4.5 seconds remaining in overtime to cap a thrilling comeback as the Panthers shrugged off Paine 94-92 Saturday evening at the Clemente Center.
“I thought as the second half wore on we got better,” said head coach Billy Mims.
“We worked a little harder, played a little smarter. I don’t think we played perfect basketball by any extreme, but our guys showed heart and character. The kids willed themselves to victory tonight.”
The Florida Tech offense has certainly done its part in the season’s first two contests, receiving double-figure scoring from five players to eclipse the 90-point mark in back-to-back wins.
Sophomore point guard Patrick Anderson rebounded from his three-point effort against Clark Atlanta to register a career-high 20 points on 9-of-19 shooting, while Corbin Jackson posted yet another double-double with 17 points and 15 boards.
After rolling to a wire-to-wire win in Friday’s regular season opener, a sloppy start put Florida Tech in a 14-point hole midway through the first half on Saturday.
The Panthers committed 11 turnovers alone in the first half, and had no answer for Paine’s Denzel Dillingham. The 6-foot-4 guard poured in 13 of his game-high 30 points in the opening stanza as the Lions shot 60.7% from the field to build a 43-32 lead heading into the intermission.
Three consecutive triples by the Lions’ Arnis Libazs stretched Paine’s advantage to 52-37 just moments into the second half. However, Florida Tech responded with a 17-5 spurt to climb within three with 11:44 to play in regulation.
Still trailing by a bucket with just 12.8 seconds on the clock, the Panthers forced Paine into a 10-second call to regain possession with a chance to force overtime or take the lead.
On the ensuing play, the Panthers dumped the ball into the post to Jackson who spun and dished the ball off to a cutting Jordan Majors for the game-tying lay-up with 3.8 seconds left to send the contest into overtime.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the extra period before Queen drew contact and the whistle to get to the foul line in the waning seconds. The transfer from nearby Eastern Florida State calmly stepped up and sank both free throws to put Florida Tech in front 94-92.
Paine had one final crack on the offensive end, but Dillingham slipped in the corner and ultimately heaved a prayer from his back that fell short of the rim, helping the Panthers start 2-0 for the third straight season.
In just 20 minutes, forward Sam Daniel chipped in with 16 points and eight rebounds to go along with 15 points and five assists from Majors.
“We made good decisions down the stretch and found a way to gut it out and win,” said Mims.
“That shows determination. There was no quit in this basketball team tonight and believe me, every single player on our bench believed we were going to find a way to win and we did.”
Without much time to relax, Florida Tech will dive into Sunshine State Conference action this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Tampa.
Live coverage, courtesy of the Spartans, will be available at FloridaTechSports.com