Florida Tech Stumbles In Fort Lauderdale

By  //  January 24, 2013

Defeat Drops Panthers To 7-8 Overall

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech fell 16 points behind for the third straight game, but unlike the previous two, it was unable to stage a comeback, losing 78-72 to Nova Southeastern on Wednesday night in a men’s basketball game at the Don Taft University Center.

Florida Tech men’s basketball coach Billy Mims watched the Panthers fall behind by 16 points for the third straight game on Wednesday night. (Image courtesy of Florida Tech)

The Panthers drop to 7-8 overall and 1-5 in the Sunshine State Conference with the loss. The Sharks, meanwhile, improve their record to 10-5 on the season and 3-3 in the SSC.

Nova Southeastern erased a three-point halftime deficit with strong shooting in the last 20 minutes. It connected on nearly 52 percent of its shots, 8-of-16 from the three-point arc and went 7-of-8 from the line. All the while, the Sharks held the Panthers to 35.5 percent shooting from the field.

What was a three-point lead for the Sharks at the 13:28 mark turned into a 16-point advantage with 7:51 to play. With a mountain to climb, the Panthers began to chip away at their deficit. Julius Reid fired a pass to Chris Carter for a big trey with less than two minutes remaining. FIT cut it to six once more on a three-pointer by Randy Echolsunder one minute to play. Nova Southeastern, however, earned a stop and Lukas Roesch hit a pair of three throws to seal the win.

“It seemed like [Nova Southeastern] shot about 80 percent in the second half and they made big shots,” head coach Billy Mims said. “We ran out of gas a bit in the second half. We were playing so hard for so long. We played tremendous in the first 20 minutes, controlled the game and dominated the rebounding. The same thing that hurt us at Saint Leo hurt us tonight. David Usic and Terrance Tubbs got into foul trouble and we had to sub them in and out. With about seven minutes to play, they entered the game and we narrowed the gap again.

“They’re a perimeter-oriented team. Tonight, they went 12-for-28 from behind the arc. Randy Echols came off the bench and played extremely well. Of our starting five, we had four guys in double figures. We almost had all five since David Usic finished with nine. The guy that really hurt us was No. 13 Stian Berg. He came off the bench and scored 14 points. I think he was the difference in the ball game. Everyone else played equally, but his performance was too much to overcome.”

Chris Carter recorded his third double-double of his Panther career with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He also had five assists and one steal in 37 minutes. Julius Reid tied Carter for the team lead in points and finished with five rebounds, five assists and four steals. He now has 66 steals on the season to increase his per game average to a nation-best 4.4. Jermaine Jackson pitched in 12 points. Terrance Tubbs made his first start at FIT and rounded out the Panthers in double figures with 10.

FIT will return home to host Florida Southern on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Clemente Center. Men’s basketball coaches throughout America will take part in Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers this weekend. The Panthers’ coaching staff will swap their dress shoes for sneakers and wear their usual game attire to show their support for the fight against cancer.