Florida Tech Panthers, Spartans To Clash In Early-Season SSC Action
By Florida Tech // November 17, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Before the year started, Florida Tech head coach Billy Mims noted that his club’s performance away from the Clemente Center will play a significant factor in whether or not the Panthers will be successful this season.
On Wednesday, Florida Tech will look to pass its first road test as it takes its early 2-0 record to Tampa for the Sunshine State Conference opener with the Spartans at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Panthers posted a 5-7 overall road record, including 3-5 among SSC competition, in 2014-15. However, Florida Tech finished last year’s regular season with consecutive road wins and enters its matchup with the Spartans confident following a pair of victories in the NCAA South Regional Challenge to open the year over the weekend.
Sporting News Preseason All-American Corbin Jackson picked up right where he left off with a pair of double-doubles in wins against Clark Atlanta and Paine, earning the SSC’s Defensive Player of the Week award in the process.
The forward’s presence ignited the Panthers versus Clark Atlanta, as Florida Tech limited CAU to just 29 points on 29 percent shooting in the first half. As a whole, the Panthers outrebounded CAU by a healthy 52-37 margin with Jackson accounting for 15 points, 10 boards and four assists in the effort.
Jackson followed up Friday’s performance with 17 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals to help the Crimson and Gray overcome a 15-point second-half deficit to edge Paine in thrilling fashion by a final score of 94-92.
“There were probably people up there that had written us off,” Mims said following his team’s comeback.
“Some fans in the crowd probably thought ‘It’s not happening tonight’. This team has a lot of fight in them. I don’t like this team, I love this team.”
In addition, Florida Tech has received a huge lift thus far from point guards Patrick Anderson and Jermohn Queen.
Queen, a transfer from nearby Eastern Florida State, has posted averages of 13.0 points and 6.0 assists in his first two career contests with Florida Tech and even sunk the two game-winning free throws with 4.5 seconds remaining in overtime to turn back the Lions on Saturday.
In the same matchup with Paine, Anderson tallied a career-high 20 points on 9-of-19 shooting to go along with three steals.
“This year we have more depth at the point than we’ve had before,” said Mims.
“We think we have two very good point guards, it doesn’t matter who we start. At times already, they’ve both given us something very, very good.”
Tampa enters Wednesday’s matchup after bouncing back from a 21-point defeat to No. 12 Alabama-Huntsville with a 78-63 rout of North Alabama. The Spartans are paced by a trio of double-figure scorers, led by true freshman Pat Bacon’s 14.5 points per game.
UT earned a 70-62 victory the last time both programs met on Feb. 7, 2015.
Live coverage of Wednesday’s action will be available, courtesy of the Spartans, at FloridaTechSports.com.