Panthers Reach Tournament Title Game

By  //  November 24, 2012

FIT Takes On Morehouse Today

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech (2-1) will play for the Hooters of Melbourne Thanksgiving Tournament Championship after defeating Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras (1-4) 80-66 Friday night at the Clemente Center.

Florida Tech’s Julius Reid led the Panthers with 24 points and had seven steals in a 80-66 win over Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras in the Hooters of Melbourne Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday night. (Image courtesy of Florida Tech)

In Saturday’s Championship Game, scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m., the Panthers will square off against Morehouse.

Morehouse held off Wisconsin-Parkside in an exciting tournament opener, 53-51. The Rangers had a chance to win the game in the final second, but a three-pointer came up just short.

Julius Reid led Florida Tech to its second victory on the season behind a game-high 24 points and seven steals. The senior guard from Cocoa connected on 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from the arc. He also chipped in four points from the free throw line.

“That’s the Julius Reid I know and love,” head coach Billy Mims said. “If you look at what he did tonight, he had 24 points, but 18 at halftime. He was 4-for-5 from behind the arc and shot the ball beautifully. The first two games, he didn’t shoot it well. His shot selection wasn’t the best and he was forcing shots he didn’t have to take. He’s the lone senior and the captain of our team. He’s been trying to do too much. Tonight, he trusted his teammates and took only the looks he could handle. Defensively, he stopped Hector Maldonado.”

Maldonado was the leading scorer in the Gallitos’ 87-53 loss to Rollins on Wednesday, finishing with 23 points. With Reid covering him like a glove, he had nine points on 4-of-13 from the field.

“Going into the game, we stressed Maldonado and [Angel] Acevedo a lot,” Mims added. “If those two guys go off, they can beat us. If we shut them down, the other guys are good, but they won’t beat us. Carlos Alfonso and Gabriel Anglero each scored 14 points. Enrique Treche had 12. Acevedo and Maldonado were both held under 10 points. Hats off to Julius Reid and Chris Carter. When we gave Julius a rest, Kenny Davison came in and defended Maldonado just as good as Julius.”

FIT held a 36-31 lead at halftime. In the second half, Rio Piedras faced its largest deficit, 68-48, with 5:09 remaining. Reid helped put his team ahead by 20 points after swiping the ball away from a Gallito and finding Kenny Davison on the other end of the floor for a layup.

Tickets can be purchased for Saturday’s doubleheader about one hour prior to the 2 p.m. Consolation Game between Rio Piedras and Wisconsin-Parkside. General admission tickets are $7. Senior citizens (65 and above), youth (5-16) and non-Florida Tech students with school ID are $5. Florida Tech students with school ID, FIT faculty and staff with school ID plus one guest, military in uniform and children five and under are free.

For regular season home doubleheaders, one ticket purchased includes admission into both games.