Eckerd Tritons Rally Past FIT Panthers
By Florida Tech // January 13, 2013
Lynn Will Be Next Opponent
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Eckerd rallied from a seven-point deficit with 4:17 left and the Tritons won the game in the final 37 seconds to upend Florida Tech 80-76 Saturday night at the Clemente Center. Eckerd (8-3, 2-2 SSC) has now won three straight games, while the Panthers (6-6, 0-3 SSC) have now dropped two straight.
“We beat ourselves tonight,” Florida Tech head coach Billy Mims said. “We had a seven-point lead with four minutes and 17 seconds to play following a three-pointer by Jermaine Jackson. We only hit two free throws and scored one bucket the rest of the way. We turned the ball over on three straight possessions and that hurt us. Right now, we’re just not tough enough to win a game like this. We lost a game at Barry like this one.
“Tonight, we led most of the game. We deserved to win the basketball game if we could finish,” Mims said. “Eckerd out-toughed us, both physically and mentally. In the last 4:17 of the ballgame, we turned the ball over and took bad shots. Eckerd drove it, got to the free throw line and made plays.”
The Tritons went to their leading scorer Darrien Mack down the stretch. The 6-foot, 7-inch 200-pound senior drew a shooting foul on two straight possessions and converted all four free throws to make it a five-point game with 3:14 to play.
On the next possession, the Panthers turned the ball over and Eckerd’s Jerrick Stevenson hit a three-pointer to trim his team’s deficit to two, 74-72. Two more FIT turnovers eventually led to Mack being fouled and hitting two free throws to tie the game.
With the momentum up for grabs, the Tritons corralled a missed layup by the Panthers and called a timeout. Mack entered the game off the bench and hit a jump shot to give Eckerd the lead for good with 37 seconds on the clock.
FIT had a chance to tie the game with 14 seconds remaining, but Malcolm Brunner Jr. blocked a jumper near the basket. The Panthers had to foul and Stevenson hit two free throws to extend Eckerd’s lead to four.
Jermaine Jackson cut it two with three seconds remaining and was fouled. He intentionally missed the free throw, but the shot never hit the rim. Mack was fouled on the ensuing in-bounds pass and sank two free throws to seal the game. He finished 13-of-14 from the line.
Jackson led all Panthers with 21 points and seven rebounds. Julius Reid notched his second double-double in three games with 17 points and tied his career-high with 11 assists. He also had six rebounds and six steals to increase his steals per game average to a nation-best 4.7.
Eckerd finished the contest 25-of-30 from the line. It also shot 45.3 percent (24-of-53) from the field and 43.8 percent (7-of-16) from the arc. FIT went 15-of-18 from the charity stripe, 43.8 percent (28-of-64) from the field and 25.0 percent (5-of-20) from long distance.
The Panthers will conclude their three-game homestand on Wednesday when they play host to Lynn at 7:30 p.m. Prior to the men’s game, the FIT women will take on the Fighting Knights at 5:30 p.m.