No. 9 Panthers Drop First Game vs. No. 14 Rollins, 65-72
By Florida Tech Athletic Communications // January 22, 2015
Brown finished team-high 20 points
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – After reeling off 15 consecutive victories to open the season, No. 9 Florida Tech ran into a roadblock at home Wednesday evening, stumbling 72-65 to Sunshine State Conference rival Rollins.
With the win, No. 14 Rollins now owns the tiebreaker atop the SSC standings.
The Tars outscored the Panthers 52-39 in the second half on 61.5 percent shooting, beating Florida Tech for the seventh straight time.
It took fewer than four minutes for Reynolds’ jacket to come off, heated as his team trailed 10-4 early on.
“Anybody who thinks they’re going undefeated in our league, they need to get in touch with reality,” said head coach John Reynolds.
“Rollins did a good job in their man-to-man tonight, they collapsed well, and they blocked shots. They were prepared and played an all-around good game.”
Backing up their title as the SSC’s leading defense, Rollins limited the Panthers to just 10 points through the game’s first 10 minutes.
Answering the call, Florida Tech upped its pressure and defensive intensity, getting its hands on passes and clawing for every loose ball.
An aggressive block by forward Jasmire Brown with 4:08 to play in the opening half allowed the Panthers to push the tempo, eventually finding sharp-shooter Kaila Callender for a three-point bucket to give Florida Tech a 19-18 advantage. The lead was Florida Tech’s first lead since 4-2.
As part of a 7-0 run to close the half, Rosie Hynes drove the lane for two of her eight points on the night, giving the Crimson and Gray their largest lead at 26-20 entering the locker room.
Before the fans had even settled back into their seats, consecutive turnovers by the Panthers allowed Rollins to knot the game back at 26 all.
Sticking to their offensive game plan, Brown converted a powerful three-point play to push Florida Tech in front 34-30, bringing the crowd to its feet.
Making big play after big play, Rollins rebounded to pull ahead by five before FIT grittily responded, tying the game at 62 with 2:32 remaining in the contest.
Trailing by two possessions, Brown scored a quick two to bring the Panthers back within a deuce with 52.2 seconds showing on the clock.
Sensing the upset, Rollins’ Julia Ingler delivered a dime to leading-scorer Emmalee Schill for an easy lay-in, erasing any hopes of a perfect season for FIT.
Brown finished with a team-high 20 points to go along with a career-best 10 rebounds, while Callender and guard Shequana Harris each added 12 points apiece.
“We’ll take the good from tonight, and we’ll pinpoint what needs to be improved,” said Reynolds. “The same way we can’t celebrate a win for more than two hours after a game, we can’t drag a loss with us. A loss is a loss, we got beat.”
FIT looks to rebound as it heads to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a critical SSC matchup with No. 20 Nova Southeastern this Saturday at 2 p.m.
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