Panthers Fall In Conference Opener

By  //  January 10, 2013

FIT Hosts Eckerd On Saturday

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Rollins College, which entered the game third in three-point field goals made in the Sunshine State Conference, hit 11 from behind the arc, while limiting Florida Tech to just two in the Tars’ 74-62 win over the Panthers Wednesday night at the Clemente Center.

Florida Tech’s Chris Carter scored a game-high 23 points and was the only Panther to reach double figures in a home loss to Rollins College on Wednesday. (Image courtesy of Florida Tech)

Rollins improves to 10-2 overall and 3-0 in SSC play with the win. FIT, meanwhile, drops to 6-5 on the year and 0-2 in league action.

“One key to success tonight was shooting the ball well from the outside since Rollins plays zone and has probably one of the best zone defenses in America,” Mims said. “We were 2-of-19. Rollins is a great perimeter team. You have to hope they don’t shoot it well. They were 11-of-25. They were 44 percent from behind the arc, we were 10.5 percent. That was the difference in the ballgame.

“I thought we played well enough to win the game in many areas. They made only two more field goals than us, we made one more free throw, outrebounded them 36-35 and had 15 offensive rebounds to their eight. We turned the ball over 15 times. Rollins turned it over 21 times. We also won points in the paint, points off turnovers, second chance points and bench scoring.”

Ahead by one with 8:39 to play in the opening period, Rollins reeled off a 16-point run in four minutes and 12 seconds.

Four three-pointers were included in that spurt along with a thunderous dunk on a breakaway by Dave Diakite. Randy Echols put an end to the run with a layup on a pass from Jermaine Jackson with 3:09 remaining in the half. Rollins would enter the locker room with a 37-23 lead.

The Tars led by as many as 22 points in the final 20 minutes, but the Panthers continued to play hard. They were able to cut their deficit down to 12 on a tip-in by Julius Reid with 10 seconds on the clock.

“What I’m really proud of is we didn’t quit,” Mims said. “We dug ourselves into a hole in the first half, trailing by 14 at halftime. We came out and won the second half, 39-37.”

Reid, the nation’s leader in steals per game, finished with six steals and is now averaging 4.5 per game. Chris Carter scored a game-high 23 points and was the only Panther to reach double figures. He also led all players with eight rebounds.

The victory was Rollins head coach Tom Klusman’s 600th of his coaching career. He became the fifth active coach to reach the plateau and 15th all-time.

FIT will resume its three-game homestand Saturday when it hosts Eckerd at 4 p.m. Prior to the men’s game, the Panther women will also take on the Tritons at 2 p.m.