Adonis Pefanis Named MVP as Florida Tech Knocks Off Concordia To Win Thanksgiving Tournament

By  //  November 26, 2018

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Billy Mims earns his 200th victory as Florida Tech head coach

Five different Panthers scored in double-figures to guide Florida Tech to its fourth win in a row, a 95-89 victory over previously undefeated Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday in the championship game of the 2018 Florida Tech Thanksgiving Tournament at the Clemente Center. (Florid Tech image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Five different Panthers scored in double-figures to guide Florida Tech to its fourth win in a row, a 95-89 victory over previously undefeated Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday in the championship game of the 2018 Florida Tech Thanksgiving Tournament at the Clemente Center.

“For the second game this weekend we rose to the occasion against an undefeated team,” said Florida Tech head coach Billy Mims.

“Bayamon was 3-0 when we faced them and Concordia was 4-0. Both teams were confident with a lot of swag and our guys rose to the occasion.

“Our team stepped up two days in a row. That tells me a lot about our team. We are taking small steps to get better every time we touch the floor.”

The Crimson & Gray have now won their Thanksgiving Tournament for a fifth consecutive season. The victory is also a milestone for Billy Mims as it was his 200th career win as head coach for the Florida Tech men’s basketball team. He is the all-time winningest coach in program history.

Antonis Pefanis led Florida Tech with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-9 from long range. The junior was honored as the Thanksgiving Tournament Most Valuable Player after he averaged 25.0 points, four rebounds, and three assists over the weekend, while also shooting 45 percent from three-point range.

RJ Coil notched a double-double on 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Coil knocked down 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the game and made 5-of-6 on free throws. Valur Valsson also recorded a double-double on 12 points and 10 assists, while Derek Murphy added 17 points. Dwayne Orija scored 11 points in the win.

The Florida Tech offense was firing on all cylinders against Concordia. The Panthers shot 48.3 percent from the field, made 14 threes and hit 23-of-31 from the charity stripe in the game. (Florida Tech image)

The Florida Tech offense was firing on all cylinders against Concordia. The Panthers shot 48.3 percent from the field, made 14 threes and hit 23-of-31 from the charity stripe in the game.

For the second game in a row, the Panther offense put up 52 points in the first half, while the 95 points scored versus the Bears is a season-high.

Concordia doubled-up the Panthers in scoring in the paint, 40-20, and won the rebounding battle, 33-28. However, Florida Tech made the most out of the Bears’ mistakes in the game, turning CSP’s 16 turnovers into 26 points for the Panthers.

Concordia jumped out to a 5-0 lead just 43 seconds in after makes on its first two possessions. The Panthers quickly overcame the margin with 11 unanswered points, including a pair of treys from Coil, to grab a six-point lead with 15:51 to go in the half.

The Bears came back to tie the contest at 21-21 on a three by Lee Higgins with 9:51 remaining in the opening frame.

After the teams exchanged baskets for several possessions, Tech regained its momentum and mounted another 11-0 run to corral a double-digit lead, 45-31, with 3:56 left in the first half.

The Panthers’ advantage grew to 14 points, 47-33, on a jumper by Murphy with 3:24 left. Max Keefe’s layup with 15 seconds remaining in the half cut the Bears’ deficit 52-42 game at the break.

Tech got off to a strong start in the second half and, after a three by Orija, had built a 72-55 edge with 14:00 to go. Minutes later, the Panthers grabbed their largest lead of the game at 18 points, 82-64, with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Despite it appearing as though the game was getting away from Concordia, the Bears were not out of it. A furious comeback ensued as CSP went on a 25-10 run and trimmed the margin to 92-89 on a three by Isaiah McKay with 1:19 left on the clock.

CSP put Murphy on the free throw line with 23 seconds left and the score still at 92-89. The junior calmly drained both attempts to push the Panthers’ lead to five points. Darius Wright added another free one with seconds to go to seal the deal on Florida Tech’s fifth straight tournament championship and give Mims his 200th win as head coach for the Panthers. Florida Tech image)

Both teams failed to score on their next possessions, and with little time remaining the Bears were forced to foul to extend the game.

CSP put Murphy on the free throw line with 23 seconds left and the score still at 92-89. The junior calmly drained both attempts to push the Panthers’ lead to five points. Darius Wright added another free one with seconds to go to seal the deal on Florida Tech’s fifth straight tournament championship and give Mims his 200th win as head coach for the Panthers.

Mims credits his success to all of those who have been with him during his 14 years at Florida Tech.

“I’d like to thank each of the players and assistant coaches who have been a part of my 200 wins at Florida Tech,” said Mims.

“Coaches prepare players to win, but players win games. It would not have been possible without all the amazing young men that I have had the opportunity to coach here.

“No. 200 will be even more special as it was earned against a previously unbeaten team and for a tournament championship. I am so blessed to coach at a great university, in such a wonderful community, with so many outstanding people.”

Next up for the Panthers is a regional showdown with Flagler College on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Clemente Center. Tipoff between the Saints and Panthers is set for 7 p.m.

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BILLY MIMS: No. 200 will be even more special as it was earned against a previously unbeaten team and for a tournament championship. I am so blessed to coach at a great university, in such a wonderful community, with so many outstanding people.

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