Florida Tech Basketball Falls Short In England, 80-78

By  //  August 12, 2015

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Unlike the first two contests on Florida Tech’s London tour, Tuesday night’s matchup had a Sunshine State Conference-type feel to it. (FIT Image)

BARKING ABBEY, ENGLAND – Unlike the first two contests on Florida Tech’s London tour, Tuesday night’s matchup had a Sunshine State Conference-type feel to it.

Unfortunately, a pair of free throws with 5.4 seconds remaining in regulation proved to be the difference, as Barking Abbey Select slipped past the Panthers by the final score of 80-78.

Tied at 75 with 52.3 seconds left, the fans received quite an exciting finish. An invitee filling in on the Barking Abbey Select roster, current Great Britain national teamer and member of the Spanish ACB, Dan Clark drained three of his game-high 21 points with 17.0 seconds to put the home team in front 78-75. Failing to wilt, point guard Patrick Anderson pushed the Panthers down the floor and instantly responded with a triple of his own to knot things back up at 78 all.

A ticky-tack foul on the next possession by Corbin Jackson, though, would send Barking Abbey Select to the line, ultimately deciding the ball game.

Billy Mims
Billy Mims

“I’m proud of the guys for playing hard effort-wise throughout the game,” said head coach Billy Mims.

“I thought from start to finish we got after it and played with a high level of intensity. We built big leads on several occasions and let them slip away. We lost some mental focus from time to time, but when we let those leads slip we didn’t fold. Every time we seemed to bounce back. Turnovers hurt us, but you know, on the road a long ways from home and early like this, we learned our team has some character.”

“It was like being on the road at Florida Southern. The game was up and down, back and forth. It was like a heavyweight boxing match, toe to toe in the middle of the ring. It came down to two points in the end and could’ve gone either way,” said Mims.

Forcing a favorable up-and-down tempo in the opening half, Florida Tech built its largest lead at 39-28 midway through the second quarter.

However, multiple careless offensive possessions allowed Barking Abbey Select to run off 12 straight points before Jackson’s floater in the waning moments gave the Panthers a 41-40 edge at the break.

Trailing by six entering the fourth, the Panthers noticeably ramped up the energy on both ends of the floor and actually built a six-point lead of their own with roughly four minutes to play.

Yet, Florida Tech couldn’t quite come up with the dagger and left the door open just long enough for Barking Abbey Select to escape with the victory.

“This was a team that played several professional players tonight and some very strong international kids who play for their country,” said Mims.

“Even then, we shot the ball really well. First game on the tour that we shot over 50 percent from the floor, and that’s a positive. I thought our execution was pretty good tonight.”

Anderson lifted the Panthers with a team-high 20 points and seven assists in the contest.

Corbin Jackson
Corbin Jackson

In addition, Corbin Jackson filled the stat sheet with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks while matching up with Clark for most of the night. Akeem Johnson chipped in 12 points and three steals off the bench.

“There’s no doubt I think the tour has been good for Patrick Anderson,” Mims added.

“I loved him in high school when we recruited him from Kentucky. We thought he had the potential to be a really good point guard for us.”

“Last year, Pat always played great defense and played hard, he just didn’t shoot the ball well. I think that really hurt his confidence. The work he’s done over the summer with Coach (DeMario) Robinson has shown. I think tonight we saw the best of Pat. He made some big shots in big moments. Tonight, Pat did the things you want a point guard to do,” said Mims.

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After averaging over 31 free throw attempts in their two previous wins, FIT tallied just nine on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Barking Abbey Select finished 18-of-24 from the line, totaling eight attempts in the first quarter alone.

FIT jumps back into action on Thursday in a meeting with London Lithuanika at 3 p.m. ET. Follow @FIT_MBB on Twitter for in-game updates throughout the matchup.