FIT Panthers Blow Out Essex in Second Half, Claim 85-52 Victory
By Florida Tech // August 9, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Making its debut across the pond in London, the Florida Tech Panthers didn’t disappoint Saturday evening.
Behind a second half onslaught, and double-figure scoring from both Jordan Majors and Corbin Jackson, the Panthers proved too much for the EBL 1 defending champion Essex Leopards en route to a convincing 85-52 win.
Florida Tech was tested for the first 20 minutes, however. A slow start defensively, coupled with a lack of rhythm on the offensive end, the Panthers found themselves trailing following an early 11-0 Essex run.
“You can say that again,” head coach Billy Mims agreed referring to his club’s sluggish play in the opening 10 minutes.
“In the first quarter I was a little bit worried because I thought we were lethargic. I was looking up at the scoreboard telling Coach (DeMario) Robinson, ‘Man these guys might score 100 on us tonight.’ I think it also took us the entire first quarter to get used to the 24-second shot clock.”
“We seemed a bit hesitant in our offense, and if shots weren’t there right away we got passive and complacent,” said Mims.
The Crimson and Gray were able to gather some momentum in the second quarter, though, with solid contributions from the bench.
The non-starters notched 15 points in the period, including six from forward Robert Booth, as Florida Tech regained a 37-32 edge heading into the halftime break.
“I liked our team effort,” said Mims.
“We got a chance to play everyone tonight. We got a lot of court time for players that needed it, and that’s what this is about. It’s about developing chemistry, developing confidence and being able to play.”
Led by Jordan Majors, the Panthers were able to seize total control in the second half.
The offense found its groove with the ability to get out more in transition, but it was the defense that impressed Mims most as his team outscored Essex 24-9 and 24-11 in the final two quarters.
“The big difference between the first quarter and the rest of the game was our defense,” Mims said.
“I thought defensively we got better as the game wore on. It’s a very physical brand of basketball over here. I think we executed better and were way more aggressive offensively, that’s a big reason Jordan Majors got to the free throw line so much.”
Picking up where he left off as a junior, Jackson recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds on the night.
Freshman Derek Murphy chipped in five points in his Panther debut.
FIT returns to action Sunday at 2 p.m. ET against London Westside, an 84-77 winner over host Brunel University London. Follow @FIT_MBB on Twitter for in-game updates throughout the contest.