Florida Tech Advances to Championship Game of Thanksgiving Classic at Clemente Center On Saturday

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advance to championship game versus Union

The Florida Tech men’s basketball team earned its second win in a row, defeating Puerto Rico-Bayamon, 84-77, in the semifinals of the Thanksgiving Classic on Friday evening at the Clemente Center. Richard Coil, above, paced the Crimson and Gray with 22 points, on 10-for-13 shooting, and 21 rebounds, both career-highs. (Florida Tech image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The Florida Tech men’s basketball team earned its second win in a row, defeating Puerto Rico-Bayamon, 84-77, in the semifinals of the Thanksgiving Classic on Friday evening at the Clemente Center. With the victory over the Vaqueros (0-3), the Panthers (2-4) advance to Saturday’s championship game versus Union.

Richard Coil paced the Crimson and Gray with 22 points, on 10-for-13 shooting, and 21 rebounds, both career-highs. Sam Daniel registered 24 points and eight rebounds. Darius Wright added a career-best 18 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc and three free throws. Michael Milligan recorded 10 points, six assists and four rebounds and Jordan Majors tallied nine points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Florida Tech knocked down 45.5 percent (30-66) from the field and 36.4 percent (12-33) from three-point range. Of FIT’s 30 field goals in the contest, 26 were assisted. Bayamon, on the other hand, shot 42.9 percent (30-70), including 36.4 percent (12-33) from long range.

The Panthers finished with more rebounds, 46-27, including an 18-8 advantage on the offensive glass which led to 13 points.

FIT and UPRB exchanged baskets in the early going with the Panthers grabbing their first lead of the game, 8-7, on a layup by Coil with 14:59 left in the opening half. Florida Tech dominated the next 12:37 of game time and outscored the Vaqueros, 36-14, to grab its largest lead of the game at 44-21 after a trey by Wright with 2:23 remaining.

Not allowing the game to get away so early, Bayamon countered with a 13-0 run to end the half and FIT went into the break leading by just a 10-point margin, 44-34.

The Vaqueros carried their momentum into the second half and outscored FIT, 19-5, to grab a four point lead, 53-49, with 13:49 left in regulation. Consecutive three-pointers by Daniel stopped the bleeding and tied the game at 55-55 at the 12:15 mark of the second half.

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From there, the Panthers settled back down in their game plan and built their lead to as much as 13 points, 81-68, on a mid-range jumper by Coil with 1:42 left on the clock. Foul trouble allowed UPRB to cut the margin to single digits in the final minute, but it was too little, too late as FIT held on for the seven-point victory.

Florida Tech will now look to win its fourth Thanksgiving Classic championship in a row on Saturday evening when they host the Union Bulldogs at the Clemente Center.

North Greenville, who fell to Union 69-59 in the opening game of the classic on Friday, will face off with Bayamon in the third place game on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, followed by the matchup between FIT and Union at 5:30 p.m.

Fans can access live coverage of both contests at FloridaTechSports.com/live

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