Panthers Edge Alabama-Huntsville

By  //  November 18, 2012

FIT Now Faces Nova Southeastern

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech saw its 18-point second half lead slip away when the Alabama-Huntsville tied the game at 83-83 with two seconds remaining.

Sophomore Kayk Wilson hit the winning free throw as Florida Tech defeated Alabama-Huntsville 84-83 at the Nova Southeastern Classic Tournament in Fort Lauderdale. (Image courtesy of Florida Tech)

But a mishap by the Chargers put Florida Tech at the foul line with two tenths of a second showing on the clock. Sophomore Kayk Wilson made good on the first of two free throws to give Florida Tech an 84-83 victory on Saturday at the Nova Southeastern Classic.

“We knew Alabama-Huntsville was not going to go away today.” head coach John Reynolds said after the game. “They were picked to finish first in the Gulf South Conference. They were 3-0 coming into today.

“I think we started to coast too much mentally and got comfortable. But they are a good team. We just beat a good basketball team.”

Florida Tech (3-0) took its largest lead of 18 points, 65-47, at the 10:34 mark of the second half on a jumper by Jasmire Brown. Brown scored the Panthers’ last seven points to gain the 18-point advantage. The junior forward went to the glass, made a layup and was fouled in back-to-back drives to extend the lead.

But then Alabama-Huntsville (3-1) began to chip away.

The Chargers, who were ranked No. 21 in the preseason poll by the Women’s Division II Bulletin, went on a 15-4 run over the next four minutes to cut the Panthers’ lead to 69-62 with 6:53 remaining.

The Panthers fought back, pushing their lead to 14 points over the next two minutes, to take a 76-64 lead. Wilson created a turnover and dished it to Jami Chappell. Chappell, from long-range, hit her second 3-pointer of the game to give FIT a 73-64 lead. After an Alabama-Huntsville timeout, Wilson stole the ball again and ran the length of the court for a fast-break layup to extend the lead to 14 points.

Again, the Chargers went on a 15-4 run to cut into the Panthers’ lead. This time they cut the lead to just one point, 80-79, with 2:08 remaining. Both teams exchanged missed opportunities over the next two trips. Then Alabama-Huntsville fouled Ida Gustafsson, who was collecting a defensive rebound, with 21 seconds left in the game.

Gustafsson hit both free-throws to push FlT’s lead to 82-79.

The Chargers missed a game-tying 3-pointer on the next trip, but Kelley Natalie cleaned up the rebound and scored to trail the Panthers’, 82-81, with seven seconds on the clock.

With five seconds remaining, Wilson was fouled and sent to the line.

Wilson missed the first shot, but made the second to give FIT an 83-81 lead.

Alabama-Huntsville tied the game at 83-83 with two seconds remaining on a shot by Jasmine Hammon. Hammon finished with a game-high 26 points. But then the Chargers fouled Wilson on the inbound pass with two tenths of a second on the clock. This time Wilson made the first one, to all but secure the victory, and missed the second one.

The Chargers rebounded the ball and the horn sounded to give FIT the 84-83 victory.

In the first half, Alabama-Huntsville opened with the game’s first bucket, but never saw the lead again. The Panthers’ Rosie Hynes countered with four-straight points.

Hynes then hit a jumper with 12:58 remaining in the half to give FIT a 10 point lead, 16-6. The Chargers cut the Panthers’ lead to just three points, 35-32, with 3:12 remaining. But Peggy Smith hit FIT’s sixth 3 of the half to give the Panthers a 38-32 lead.

FIT extended its lead to 12 points—largest of the half—with 1:13 remaining in the first. Hynes, hitting her second three of the half, gave the Panthers the 46-34 lead. Alabama-Huntsville cut the deficit to 46-37 before the buzzer sounded to end the half. Hynes finished the first session with a game-high 14 points.

The Panthers were 7-of-11 from behind the arc in the first half, making their first four and first 5-of-6 3-pointers. Brown also hit two 3’s in the first half, while Chappell, Melissa Echols and Smith also hit from long-range.

Brown finished with a team-high 21 points—one point shy of her career best. Hynes finished with a career-high 14 points, while Wilson and Chappell each chipped in 10 points.

The Panthers will close out the Nova Southeastern Classic Sunday at 2 p.m. when they face Clark Atlanta.