Perimeter Shooting Propels Florida Tech to 91-83 Win
By Florida Tech // November 27, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Three-point buckets were falling early and often Friday night at the Clemente Center as Florida Tech drained a season-high 14 triples to open its annual Thanksgiving Tournament with a 91-83 victory over Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras.
Point guard Pat Anderson led three Panthers in double-figures, tying a career-high with 20 points, to help Florida Tech collect its fifth win in six tries to start the season. In all, 12 different players chipped in with at least two points in a contest that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated.
The Panthers jumped in front 21-13 midway through the first half thanks to back-to-back treys off the bench by Randy Echols.
Minutes later, Jordan Majors’ runner in the lane extended the margin to double-digits, putting Florida Tech up 32-21.
From there, Anderson took over the remainder of the first half. With the Panthers lead cut to eight, the sophomore tallied 14 of the team’s 19 points in the final 4:50 of the opening half to send Florida Tech into the break comfortably ahead 54-32.
Anderson connected on all five of his three-point field goal attempts in the first half, as Florida Tech collectively shot 65.6 percent from the floor.
“Pat’s come a long way,” said head coach Billy Mims.
“He’s a young man that’s worked really hard. Today, he reaped the benefit of that hard work. His confidence was sky high. He hit his first couple shots, and you could see it in his face – he wanted the basketball. It’s pretty hard to play a much better 20 minutes of basketball than Pat did in the first half.”
Florida Tech was forced to call timeout after the Gallitos ran off 10 straight points to start the second half. Just when Rio Piedras seemed to find its stride, though, the Panthers quickly stretched the margin back out to 20 on one of Sam Daniel’s two made jumpers from beyond the arc.
Following a rough 1-for-14 three-point shooting display in the first half of Monday’s win against Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Florida Tech has since made 21-of-42 triples in its last three halves of basketball.
“It was really good to see that from our guys,” said Mims.
“We have a lot of good shooters on this team so it was nice to have a night like tonight, just to continue to build our confidence.”
Echols finished the night with 14 points on 4-of-7 from deep, while Daniel added 10 points in just 13 minutes of action.
Florida Tech’s 54 points in the first half are the most scored in a single half this season.
With the victory, the Panthers will face North Greenville, a 73-62 winner over Georgia Southwestern earlier in the day, in tomorrow’s tournament championship. Live coverage will be available for the 5:30 p.m. tip at FloridaTechSports.com/live.
“Tomorrow we’re going to play a good basketball team,” said Mims.
“North Greenville has some really good guards, they defend well and are well-coached. It’ll be another great test for us. We need to come out here and make a statement. Tomorrow afternoon, there’s a championship at stake and I hope our guys come out to earn it.”