Florida Tech Falls To Cameron In Las Vegas

By  //  December 16, 2012

Panthers Start Fast, Then See Lead Evaporate

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – Florida Tech (4-2) began the Las Vegas Desert Classic by building a 17-point first-half lead, but Cameron (5-4) shot nearly 67 percent from the floor in the second half to win 78-70 at the Doolittle Center.

Florida Tech’s Julius Reid led the Panthers with 21 points in a loss to Cameron in the Las Vegas Desert Classic on Saturday. (Image courtesy of Florida Tech)

“After leading 30-13, we were outscored 65-40 the rest of the game,” head coach Billy Mims said. “They played harder, outworked us and outrebounded us. They also played sound, fundamental basketball. Their guards and their dribble penetration really hurt us. They scored 42 points in the paint and most were by their guards.”

FIT held the upper-hand just a few seconds into the game as David Usic won the opening tip and put back a missed three-pointer by Julius Reid. The lead, which ballooned to 30-13, did not change hands until Cameron’s Jonathan Patino hit his only three-pointer of the game to make it 54-52 in favor of the Aggies.

Reid answered with a trey on the next possession and FIT held the advantage until the six-minute mark when Cameron’s Craig Foster swiped an in-bounds pass under the Panthers’ basket and laid it into the hoop. Patino would give his team the lead for good with a layup with 4:51 to play.

At halftime, Cameron trailed 37-30. However, the Aggies led in rebounds, points in the paint, points off turnovers, second-chance points and fast break points.

“Although we had the lead at halftime, we were losing every single intangible,” Mims said. “We lived and died by our jumper today. Our top three scorers were our big three –Julius Reid, Jermaine Jackson and Chris Carter. Chris was the game’s leading rebounder with 10. We didn’t have a post player with five rebounds.”

FIT marched to the line 38 times, but connected on 65.8 percent (25-of-38) of its free throws. Cameron finished the game shooting 51.7 percent (30-of-58) from the floor compared to FIT’s 39.2 percent (20-of-51).

Reid tied Foster for the most points in the game with 21. He also had six rebounds, five assists, four rebounds and one block, while playing the entire 40 minutes. Jermaine Jackson had 18 points and Chris Carter earned his second double-double of the season and his Panther career, totaling 16 points with a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Panthers and Abilene Christian will meet in the last game of the Las Vegas Desert Classic on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET.

Prior to Saturday’s game between FIT and Cameron, tournament host Rollins came back to defeat Abilene Christian 65-61.