Florida Tech Falls To Berry At Home, Losing Streak Hits Six Games

By  //  January 22, 2016

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Friday Night Locker Room's Steve Wilson talks with Florida Tech head basketball coach Billy Mims about the Panthers. (Florida Tech image)

Florida Tech’s six-game Sunshine State Conference homestand began with excitement and anticipation. Fast forward two weeks and the Panthers are still searching for their 11th victory of the season. (Florida Tech image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech’s six-game Sunshine State Conference homestand began with excitement and anticipation. Fast forward two weeks and the Panthers are still searching for their 11th victory of the season.

Florida Tech drew within as close as one point in the second half before Barry flexed its muscles and reeled off a 20-3 run to cruise past the Panthers 85-65 Wednesday night at the Clemente Center.

The Buccaneers controlled the paint throughout, owning a 46-31 margin on the glass and outscoring the Panthers 44-28 inside.

SSC Player of the Year Candidate Yunio Barrueta notched a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Tray Leonard registered his fourth double-double of the year with 18 points and 10 boards.

Adrian Gonzalez added 16 points off the bench in addition to Undra Mitchem’s 15 on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Two Panthers scored in double-figures in the losing effort, led by Pat Anderson’s team-high 19 points and five steals to go along with Corbin Jackson’s 10 points and seven boards.

Billy Mims

Billy Mims

“We’re not able to put 40 minutes of basketball together,” said head coach Billy Mims.

“We got outplayed in the second half. You can’t shoot 43 percent when you’re not going to rebound and not going to execute. We were focused in the first half, had a game plan and stuck to it. Our second half execution just fell apart.”

Barrueta made just 4-of-23 shot attempts combined in two meetings against Florida Tech a year ago. However, the senior from Miami hit three of his first five from the field in Wednesday’s contest to give Barry an early 14-10 edge at the first media timeout.

The league’s leading scorer, though, was forced to the bench midway through the half with a pair of back-to-back fouls. Still, Florida Tech couldn’t take advantage as the Bucs ran off 12 straight points to extend their lead to 30-16 with under seven minutes to play in the opening stanza.

With the game heading south quickly, Anderson found his rhythm on the offensive end of the floor. Sparked by seven of the sophomore’s 13 first-half points, the Panthers responded right back with 12 of the game’s next 15 to narrow the deficit to five at the 4:35 mark before halftime.

Even with Jackson out of the lineup for the final 7:56 of the first half due to his own fair share of foul trouble, Florida Tech entered the locker room within striking distance down just 44-39.

The Panthers closed the gap to one moments into the second half, but wasted possessions keyed by careless turnovers allowed the visitors to stretch their cushion back to double-digits only minutes later.

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Florida Tech continued to hang around, only a few possessions out of the ball game, until Barry sucked the air right out of the Clemente Center with a 20-3 spurt to claim its largest lead of the night at 81-56 to seal the deal on the Panthers’ fifth consecutive defeat.

FIT converted just 3-of-14 from deep Wednesday, its lowest output of the season.

“We need something right now to get that confidence back,” said Mims.

“The only thing to solve that is to win. There’s no medicine like a good win.”

FIT will seek a turnaround as it heads to Daytona Beach for a 7 p.m. ET tip-off against SSC provisional member Embry-Riddle.

Live coverage, courtesy of the Eagles, can be accessed at FloridaTechSports.com.


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