Florida Tech Panthers Protect Home Court, Win Third In A Row With 105-90 Route Of Tampa
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Assistant Editor, Space Coast Daily // February 23, 2017
Panthers in sole possession of eight, final spot
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – With only two games to play and nothing assured in terms of postseason play, the Florida Tech Panthers were in a must win situation on Wednesday night.
And win the Panthers did.
Florida Tech came away with a 105-90 victory at the Clemente Center vs. Tampa, a team that beat them by 30 back in December.
Led by sophomore forward Derek Murphy, who finished with a game 25-points, five Panthers finished in double digit scoring on the night.
Florida Tech has now won three straight games and is now one victory away from clinching at least the No. 8 seed in next week’s Sunshine State Conference Tournament.
“Tonight I thought we had a great contribution from everybody that played in the basketball game,” stated head coach Billy Mims.
“We had five players finish in double figures led by Derek Murphy.”
With just one miss in nine attempts, Murphy was nearly perfect in the game. He was perfect from the free throw line hitting all nine attempts.
The Detroit, Michigan native will play a huge role in head coach Billy Mims plans for the future.
The game also featured the battle of the “Pats, Bacon from Tampa and Anderson from Florida Tech.
While Bacon outscored Anderson with 26-points, the Panthers Pat came away with the better all around performance, as he notched a double-double on the night.
Pat Anderson finished with 19 points, including dropping all four of his attempts from beyond the arc.
The back half of Anderson’s double-double involved his 11 assists and he tied for a team high seven rebounds.
The Sunshine State’s leading scorer on the year, Florida Tech’s Jordan Majors, finished second on the team in scoring with 22 points while the conference’s second leading scorer, FIT’s Sam Daniel, finished with 17.
Melbourne Bulldog alum, Robert Booth, who will be one of four seniors honored when the Panthers close out the regular season on Saturday at home, completed the double digit scoring for FIT with 10 points.
During the Panthers 30 point loss back in December, Tampa owned the glass on both ends of the floor but on Wednesday night, Florida Tech returned the favor, out-rebounding the Spartans 38-21, including a 13-6 advantage on the offensive glass that led to 18-second chance points.
Tampa held an early 13-6 lead five minutes into the contest but with the Panthers clamped down on defense and ended the half on a 39-26 run, taking a 45-39 lead into the locker room at the half.
Following a Pat Anderson three-pointer, Florida Tech extended their advantage to 13-points four minutes into the second half.
Florida Tech controlled the tempo most of the way but the Spartans made things interesting following a 13-2 run late in the contest.
After a Robert Booth missed dunk, Tampa’s Pat Bacon went coast to coast made his layup and was fouled by Jordan Majors. Bacon completed the three- point play and with just 3:46 to play, the Panthers led 81-76.
Following the media timeout, Sam Daniels slammed down a dunk and the Panthers were off and running . Florida Tech pulled away with a 19-4 run to close out the game for the 15-point win.
Florida Tech hit the century mark for the second consecutive game and have now won three in a row for the first time since winning five straight fro Nov. 25 through Dec. 3
While Tampa ended that winning streak for FIT following a mandatory week off before Christmas back on Dec 10, the Spartans could not duplicate the feat on the road.
The Panthers, now 7-10 in SSC play and are in sole possession of the eighth and final conference tournament spot.
With a 15-12 overall record, the Panthers guaranteed themselves their fifth winning season in the past six years.
However, they can still miss the postseason with a loss on Saturday and a St.Leo win.
The Lions swept the Panthers this year and and as a result, own the tiebreaker.
Next up for Florida Tech is its regular season finale and Senior Day game against Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m. ET at the Clemente Center.
Senior Day festivities will honor four outgoing members of the this year’s team. Robert Booth, Rafael Casanova, Max Fischer and Miki Rajovic.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE FLORIDA TECH SPORTS