Florida Tech Defeats Puerto Rico-Mayaguez 80-67 At Clemente Center
By Florida Tech // November 21, 2018
Panthers 2018 Record: 2-1
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Guided by 19 points from RJ Coil and a double-double from Derek Murphy, the Florida Tech men’s basketball team defeated Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, 80-67, on Tuesday evening at the Clemente Center.
Coil guided four players in double-figures with 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including a 3-of-4 effort from beyond the arc. The senior also had six rebounds and two blocks in the game.
Murphy racked up 16 points, 15 rebounds, and three steals in 32 minutes of action. Antonis Pefanis added 12 points and seven boards while Valur Valsson was just short of his own double-double with 10 points and nine assists.
Tech finished the game making 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field and 37.5 percent (12-of-32) from beyond the arc. The Panthers also knocked down 18-of-24 from the charity stripe. The Tarzans shot 38.5 percent (25-of-65) and hit 33.3 percent (7-of-21) of their three-point attempts.
The Panthers controlled the rebounding battle, 47-32, and grabbed 14 offensive boards leading to 19 second-chance points. However, Mayaguez outscored Tech in the paint, 30-24.
Hot shooting early on allowed the Crimson & Gray to get off to a fast start in the contest. The Panthers jumped out to a 20-8 advantage on a trey by Murphy with 13:03 still to go in the first half.
While the home team was on a roll offensively, Mayaguez struggled as a result of some great Panther defense.
“Defensively in the first half we were phenomenal,” Mims stated.
“We held them to 31 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes, including 1-of-9 from the three-point line, 50% at the free throw line and they only scored 25 points.”
Cory Kaplan’s steal and fast break alley-oop to Nieja Jordan sent the crowd into a frenzy and gave Tech its largest lead of the game at 23 points, 41-18, with 3:07 left before halftime.
The Tarzans closed the half on a 7-3 run and the Panthers went into the break leading, 44-25.
Despite trailing big at halftime, Mayaguez used the momentum drawn from their late first-half scoring spree and showed a lot of energy coming out of their locker room. The Tarzans outscored the Panthers, 15-6, over the initial five minutes of the half and trimmed their deficit to 50-40 with 15:05 left on the clock.
“I talk to our guys about the first five minutes of the second half being important so we can put the game away,” said Mims. “Instead, we came out of the locker room flat; we didn’t execute well and turned the ball over. We only had one score in the first five minutes of the half.”
However, the Panthers regathered their composure and began to show glimpses of the dominance they displayed in the first half.
Coil knocked down a pair of free throws with 10:08 remaining to increase Tech’s lead to 17 points, 60-43. Moments later the Panthers mounted a 14-5 run, with half of those points coming off free throws, to corral a 21-point advantage at 74-53 with 4:05 to go.
Florida Tech’s lead stayed in double-digits the rest of the contest and the Panthers went on to pick up a great win before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Next up, the men’s basketball team hosts its annual Florida Tech Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23 and 24.
Visiting Melbourne to compete in the event this year are Concordia St. Paul, Georgian Court, and Puerto Rico-Bayamon. CSP and GCU will battle it out in the first semifinal game on Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Clemente Center, while the Panthers take on Bayamon in the second semifinal of the tournament at 4 p.m. The tournament final and consolation games will take place Saturday afternoon
For the latest news, updates and information on the Florida Tech men’s basketball team, visit FloridaTechSports.com
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