Florida Tech Advances To Saturday’s Championship Game In Florida Tech Thanksgiving Tournament
By Florida Tech // November 24, 2018
Murphy leads panthers with 28 pts., 17 rebounds
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Guided by impressive performances from Derek Murphy and Antonis Pefanis, the Florida Tech men’s basketball team (3-1) dominated the Puerto Rico-Bayamon Vaqueros (3-1), 84-59, in the semifinals of the Florida Tech Thanksgiving Tournament Friday afternoon at the Clemente Center.
The win is the Panthers’ third in a row and advances them to the tournament championship game on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Clemente Center.
Murphy led all players in scoring and rebounding in the game with 28 points and 17 rebounds, both are career-highs. The junior forward also added four assists and three steals for the Panthers. Pefanis was all over the court for Tech and finished with 25 points on 8-of-17 shooting, four rebounds, five steals, and three assists.
Valur Valsson recorded 13 points, five assists, and four rebounds, while R.J. Coil hauled in 13 rebounds to go along with five points.
The Panthers made 43.3 percent of their shots in the game, including 9-of-30 from three-point range. Tech also hit 17-of-26 from the line. Bayamon knocked 39 percent of its attempts from the field but was limited to just 6-of-26 from beyond the arc against Florida Tech’s perimeter defense.
Tech dominated the rebounding battle, 55-27, including a 21-6 edge in offensive boards that led to 19 second-chance points. Florida Tech also ended with a slight advantage in points in the paint, 32-30.
The Panthers jumped out to early double-digit lead, 19-9, after a pair of free throws by Valsson with 12:51 to go in the first half.
The Vaqueros quickly trimmed their deficit to 19-14 but Florida Tech answered with a 20-7 run and grabbed a 39-21 edge with 4:16 to go in the half.
Not taking the foot off the pedal, Tech outscored Bayamon 13-7 the remainder of the half and took a 24-point lead, 52-28, into halftime.
Murphy already had 19 points and 13 rebounds at the half, with most of his damage occurring in the paint.
The Vaqueros got off to a fast start in the second half, outscoring the Panthers 21-11 to cut the margin to 14 points, 63-49, with 9:11 still to go.
However, Florida Tech would get back on track and eventually put the game out of reach. Over the final nine minutes of game time, the Panthers scored 21 points and limited Bayamon to just 10.
A layup by Pefanis with 5:57 to go pushed the Panthers’ lead back above 20 points. Then, a fast break basket by Murphy gave Tech its largest lead of the game at 28 points, 83-55.
At that point, Florida Tech head coach Billy Mims emptied the bench to give the reserves some runs, and give the starters some rest before Saturday’s championship game.
The Crimson & Gray will face Concordia-St. Paul in tomorrow’s Thanksgiving Tournament Championship. CSP defeated Georgian Court, 85-69, in the first semifinal on Friday. Georgian Court will take on Bayamon in the Consolation Game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
“Concordia is going to be a handful for us tomorrow,” said Mims. “They are a well-coached team. They have a lot of confidence and are a very disciplined team that can really play and shoot the ball well. They have a great coach in Joey Jones and are undefeated at 4-0. This team is going to come in and give us a great test.”
For the latest news, updates and information on the Florida Tech men’s basketball team, visit FloridaTechSports.com
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