Florida Tech’s Senior Day Victory Clinches Berth In Sunshine State Conference Tourney
By Daniel Supraner, Florida Tech Sports // February 26, 2018
will face Conference foe Barry in first round
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The Florida Tech men’s basketball team picked up a critical win during its senior day game on Saturday afternoon, knocking off Nova Southeastern, 85-76, in Sunshine State Conference play at the Clemente Center.
The victory gave the Panthers (13-15, 8-12 SSC) the season sweep of the Sharks (17-9, 11-9 SSC) and clinched them a berth into next week’s SSC Tournament after Saint Leo fell to Rollins by a score of 81-66 tonight.
FIT will face SSC regular-season champion Barry (18-7, 14-6 SSC) in the first round of the league championship.
All four seniors reached double-digit scoring in the victory over the Sharks. Michael Milligan led the way with a career-high 21 points, on 7-for-10 shooting and 7-for-8 on free throws, four rebounds, and three assists. Patrick Anderson was just three assists shy of a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Sam Daniel and Jordan Majors recorded 16 points and five rebounds, each.
The Panthers ended the game with just eight turnovers and outrebounded NSU, 38-30, including an 18-8 edge on the offensive glass which translated to 12 second-chance points. FIT also outscored the Sharks in the paint, 36-28.
A foul by Majors just five seconds into the game led to a pair of free throws and a 2-0 lead for NSU. However, that would be the Sharks’ only lead of the game as the Crimson and Gray rattled off a 17-3 run and took a 12-point advantage less than four minutes after the opening tip.
NSU trimmed the margin to three, 24-21, on a three by David Dennis with 8:36 to go in the first half.
A trey by Majors capped a 6-0 spurt and pushed FIT’s lead back to double-digits, 39-29, with 3:40 remaining in the first period. After NSU cut its deficit to six with less than a minute left, Anderson beat his defender on the dribble and knocked down a jumper to hand Florida Tech a 41-33 edge at halftime.
The Panthers, again, increased their lead to double-digits, 50-39, after Milligan found Daniel in the paint for an easy lay-in with 15:26 remaining. Consecutive threes by Anderson and Majors pushed FIT’s advantage to its largest of the game at 15 points, 61-46, with 10:57 to go.
The Panthers’ lead remained in double-figures until a pair of treys by NSU’s Nick Stampley and Nick Smith cut the margin to 77-70 at the 2:29 mark. The teams exchanged baskets the rest of the way and FIT eventually sealed the win at the charity stripe for the nine-point victory.
Florida Tech is the No. 8 seed in next week’s SSC Men’s Basketball Tournament and will square off with top-seed Barry on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Health and Sports Center in Miami Shores, Florida. The Panthers split the season series with the Buccaneers, including a 96-83 thrashing of BU on its home court earlier this season.
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