FIT Snaps Seven Game Conference Skid With Last Minute Victory, Defeat Southern Florida 82-79
By Florida Tech // February 8, 2016
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA- Head coach Billy Mims will finally be able to sleep a little easier Saturday night. All-Sunshine State Conference performer Corbin Jackson bullied Florida Southern inside en route to 25 points and 15 rebounds, and Jermohn Queen registered the go-ahead bucket with 35 seconds remaining as Florida Tech staved off a late Moccasins charge to snap its seven-game SSC losing streak with an 82-79 victory in front of the home crowd.
Florida Southern drew even in the final minute after trailing by as many as 12 in the second half, but Queen tallied the game’s final three points, including a nifty lay-in to put the Panthers up for good, as Florida Tech preserved the season sweep of the Mocs.
“In the end, we got the big stop that we needed,” said Mims. “We got the big rebound we needed, and on the offensive end in the last couple minutes, we made plays when we had to.
“The best thing today about Jermohn Queen was that he played at a much higher cerebral level. He played smarter basketball today. He ran the offense well, got the ball where we wanted. He did a good job of being a floor general today.
“Because of his speed, he’s always going to create for you in the open floor, but in the half court today he was a much better leader. That’s what we need out of Jermohn. He grew up some out there today and it was huge for us.”
Jackson recorded his 10th double-double in the victory, adding a team-high five assists and two blocks to his impressive stat line.Jordan Majors followed up his 25-point outing from earlier in the week with 14 points and five rebounds, while Randy Echolschipped in with 12 points in 22 minutes of action.
Filling in for the injured Dylan Travis, Sheldon Zablotny exploded right out the gate to jump start the Florida Southern offense. The 5-11 guard drilled three of his first four three-point attempts to tally all nine of the Mocs’ points in the opening 4:05.
The Panthers kept pace, though, thanks to the assertive play of Jackson. Demanding the ball nearly every trip down, the Panther big man went to work early and often in the paint.
Limited to just five points in Wednesday’s loss to Nova Southeastern, Jackson had already reached double-figures at the 12:54 mark as Florida Tech clung to a 15-14 advantage.
Despite Jackson’s efforts on the offensive end, Zablotny continued to fill it up for Florida Southern. Firing at will, the Mocs’ guard notched 18 of his team’s first 20 points to keep the visitors close. The junior finished with a game-high 28 points on 8-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc.
Echols wasn’t to be shown up on his home floor, however, and reminded the fans why he’s been the SSC leader in three-point shooting throughout the majority of the season. Off the bench, Echols drained three consecutive triples in a span of 1:44 to put Florida Tech ahead 36-29 at the 4:22 mark, and following a last-second jumper by Queen, entered the halftime locker room with a 40-33 cushion.
A 12-2 Florida Southern spurt quickly erased any sort of advantage as the Mocs jumped in front 45-42 less three minutes into the second half.
Yet, Florida Southern’s lead was short lived. A little three-point magic helped the Panthers climb back in front and eventually went back to Jackson to further extend it. The redshirt senior converted a pair of lay-ups, and then found a cutting Majors out of a double team to help Florida Tech open up a 64-56 lead with 9:32 to play.
“I think I took him out one possession for about 30 seconds, and I didn’t like what I saw and got him right back in there,” Mims said about Jackson.
“We ran plays for him all day long, whether they were in man or zone. We felt like he was on a roll inside and if we could get it to him he was going to make something good happen. He’s really matured in his three years here as a basketball player. We don’t win this one without a monster game from Corbin Jackson.”
The eight-point margin stretched to as many as 12, but Florida Southern didn’t go away quietly. Together, Dominique Williams and Michael Volovic took over by pouring in 19 of the Mocs’ next 21 points before Zablotny knotted the score at 79-79 with just 53 seconds remaining.
Those would be the last points for Florida Southern, though, as the Panthers secured their first victory at the Clemente Center since Dec. 18.
Florida Tech absolutely dominated the Mocs on the glass Saturday evening. The Panthers out-rebounded the defending national champions by a whopping 41-18 margin, turning 15 offensive boards into 16 second-chance points.
FIT will look to continue its winning ways when it travels to Miami Shores for a showdown with 17th-ranked Barry Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Live coverage, courtesy of the Buccaneers, will be available at FloridaTechSports.com.