Sam Daniel’s Career Night Propels Florida Tech Past No.24 Nova Southeastern on the Road
By Daniel Supraner, Florida Tech Sports // December 10, 2017
FOUR PANTHERS SCORe IN DOUBLE FIGURES
ABOVE VIDEO: Sam Daniel Florida Tech Junior season Highlights.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA – Guided by a career-high performance by Sam Daniel, Florida Tech (4-6, 1-3 SSC) upset undefeated, No. 24-ranked Nova Southeastern (6-1, 3-1 SSC) on the road, 103-99, for the Panthers’ first Sunshine State Conference victory of season Saturday afternoon at Rick Case Arena.
“I’m not sure if I have ever been more proud of a group of young men than I am of this team today,” exclaimed head coach Billy Mims.
“We’ve had a very tough schedule to open the season, and injuries to key veteran players have not helped, but this team has continued to work hard and keep getting better.”
“We had an entire week to prepare to play the only nationally ranked and unbeaten team in our league, and the energy and execution in practice this week definitely helped lead us to this result.”
Daniel set a new career-high with 47 points on 15-for-23 shooting and 7-for-12 from beyond the arc.
The senior also made 10-of-14 free throws and recorded eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Daniel’s point total was not only a personal-best but also set a new building record for Rick Case Arena for the most points ever scored in a single game.
Three other Panthers reached double-figure scoring including Jordan Majors who finished with 21 points to go along three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Richard Coil added a double-double, his fourth of the season, with 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting, 12 boards and one block.
Michael Milligan notched 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting and seven rebounds. Valur Valsson also had a strong game, scoring six points and dished out a game-high 13 assists, his fourth game with 10-plus dimes.
Antonis Pefanis also made his first appearance this season as a result of injury, recording one assist, one block and one steal in nine minutes. “Although the stats might not show it, the return from injury of Antonis Pefanis today for his first time on court this season was a big lift for us,” stated Mims. “Antonis plays so hard and brings passion and energy to the game that we’ve been lacking.”
Florida Tech shot 55.4 percent in the game and hit 8-for-25 three-pointers and 23-for-33 free throws. NSU made 42.9 percent of its shots, including 14-for-42 from beyond the arc and 19-for-20 at the charity stripe.
FIT finished with an advantage in both rebounding, 41-37, and points in the paint, 50-32. The Sharks ended with a significant edge in bench points, 59-3. Despite Florida Tech leading for 30:19 of game time over the 24th-ranked Sharks, it was an even matchup between the teams for the majority of contest. Daniel got off to a fast start in the game and already had 16 points at the 11:23 mark of the first half as FIT led 23-21.
The Panthers’ lead reached its largest of the half at seven points, 32-25, on a trey by Daniel with 6:44 left before halftime. An 11-0 run by the Sharks gave them a four point lead, its largest of the game, at 36-32 with 4:13 remaining.
FIT regained its advantage a minute later and then went ahead 39-36 on a steal-and-score by Milligan with 2:48 left in the period. After exchanging baskets the rest of the half, the Panthers took a narrow 44-43 lead into halftime.
A 5-0 run by NSU cut a six-point Florida Tech lead to just 64-63 with 9:37 remaining. From there the Panthers outscored the home team 10-1, including eight points from Daniel, and took their first double-digit lead of the game with 6:43 left on the clock.
FIT built its advantage to a game-best 15 points, 93-78, on a pair of free throws by Valsson with 1:37 to go in the contest. However, the Sharks came roaring back and outscored Florida Tech 18-7 over the next 1:25 to decrease the margin to four, 100-96, with 12 seconds left.
A fast break layup by Milligan sealed the win as FIT pushed the edge back to six with just a few seconds to go and held on for its third straight victory over Nova Southeastern.
The Crimson and Gray return to action on Dec. 18-19 hosting the annual Florida Tech Holiday Classic at the Clemente Center.
Joining the Panthers for this year’s edition of the classic are SSC foe Lynn, Miles College and Shawnee State.
FIT faces Miles at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, Dec. 18 and then squares off with Shawnee State at 6 p.m. on the 19th. Fans can access live coverage for all games of the Holiday Classic at FloridaTechSports.com/live.
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