Florida Tech’s Woes Continue In Men’s Hoops, Falls To Nova 88-83

By  //  January 19, 2016

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Florida-Tech-Basketball-580-5BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Slow starts have been a recurring theme time and time again this season, and continue to take a toll on the Florida Tech Panthers. Head coach Billy Mims’ club trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half, and paid the price for it yet again after falling 88-83 to Nova Southeastern Monday afternoon at the Clemente Center.

Florida Tech has found itself down at halftime in five of the last six games – the result, five losses in six tries.

Nova Southeastern was without leading scorer Chris Page, but received an impressive shooting performance from Troy Spears in the win. Spears paved the way for the Sharks with a career-high 23 points, including a perfect 6-of-6 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes.

Teammate Harrison Goodrick poured in 21 points of his own, while Dwayne Gibson added 14 points and eight rebounds.

Sam Daniel

Sam Daniel

Sam Daniel recorded a team-high 20 points for the Panthers to go along with Jordan Majors’ 19. Both Randy Echols and Isaac Spence tallied 12 points apiece in significant roles off the bench.

The key factor, though, was the way Nova Southeastern eliminated Corbin Jackson, holding the all-conference performer to just three points and two boards.

Billy Mims

Billy Mims

“I told our guys before the game, ‘Don’t worry that Page isn’t playing, start wondering who’s going to step up’,” said Mims.

“Nova’s a good basketball team. When they’re making shots, they’re difficult to beat. Tonight, that’s what they did.”

The Sharks didn’t take long to heat up in Monday’s contest, either. Nova Southeastern connected on its first six shot attempts, five coming from deep, and jumped out to a quick 21-8 advantage. The visitors didn’t miss their first field goal until nearly seven minutes into the ball game.

Spears drilled his fourth triple of the half already with 11:48 still to play to extend the Sharks’ lead to 27-14.

Nova Southeastern’s torrid scoring pace would eventually taper off a bit, but not for long. After totaling just two points over a span of 4:53, the Sharks closed the first half with treys in each of their final four possessions to claim a healthy 50-34 edge at the break.

Florida Tech was no slouch, converting a respective 7-of-15 from deep, but the Sharks just put on a clinic. Nova Southeastern drilled 12-of-20 of its three-point attempts…in the first half alone.

“They shot it really well, but I’m extremely disappointed in our defensive effort in the first half,” said Mims.

“Two things stood out to me today – our first half defensive effort was awful and we got destroyed on the boards.”

A 6-0 spurt to begin the second half brought noise to the Clemente Center crowd for the first time all afternoon, as the Panthers instantly drew back to within 10.

A fast break bucket by Majors cut the deficit to single digits, before an alley-oop lay-in from Pat Anderson to Spence closed the gap all the way back to just two with 8:45 to go.

After being held to 35.7 percent from the field in the opening stanza, the Panthers shot 54.8 percent from the floor in the second half.

HEALTH-FIRST-INDIVIDUAL-580-B1

The Panthers knotted things up minutes later on one of Daniel’s four treys, and even climbed in front for the first time all day at the 2:04 mark when Jermohn Queen beat the defense down the court for two of his seven points.

The story’s been told on a number of occasions this year, though. After expending incredible amounts of energy during their second half rally, the Panthers’ comeback fizzled out in the game’s final moments to send FIT to its third consecutive Sunshine State Conference defeat at home.

“There’s no crystal ball,” said Mims.

“Even when I’ve tweaked the lineup we’ve still had tough starts. There’s no easy answer. That’s the frustrating thing for a coach. It’s not like I’m not using our bench, but for whatever reason we’re not sustaining our effort. Our effort seems to come in spurts. We have to do a better job.”

In addition to his seven points, the 5-foot-9 Queen finished with nine rebounds and four steals, both game-highs.

FIT will look to right the ship Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. ET in a home meeting with No. 23 Barry.

Live coverage will be available at FloridaTechSports.com/live.


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