Florida Tech Caps Off 2019 by Defeating Thomas 92-85 at the Clemente Center
By Florida Tech // December 23, 2019
Florida Tech improves to 7-1 at home
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Derek Murphy recorded a double-double and Trey Schaneville had a career-night to pace Florida Tech to a hard-fought, 92-85 victory over Thomas (Ga.) Saturday evening at the Clemente Center.
The win gave the Panthers’ a 2-0 record at this year’s Florida-Georgia Winter Classic after the team routed Toccoa Falls Friday night 86-53. Tech improves to 7-1 at home, including a 6-0 mark against non-conference foes.
Murphy finished with a season-high 35 points and 11 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. He scored the 35 points on 14-of-29 shooting, including 3-of-7 beyond the arc, and a 4-of-4 effort at the free-throw line.
“Derek had an amazing game and did so many things so well for us tonight,” stated head coach Billy Mims. “Down the stretch, Derek just willed us along. He was not going to be beaten tonight. Just a huge performance to lead us to the win.”
Schaneville was also impressive against Thomas, scoring a career-high 26 points on an efficient 7-of-12 shooting night. He went 5-of-10 from three and made all seven of his free throws in the game, while also registering four rebounds and four assists with no turnovers.
“After having a career game earlier this week with 17 points at Barry, Trey Schaneville came up big again for us tonight,” added Mims. “He comes off the bench and scores another career-high with 26 points. Such a tough performance by him.”
Runako Ziegler scored 11 points for the second game in a row, this time adding seven rebounds and three assists to his total. Antonis Pefanis recorded 10 points, six rebounds and three assists while making 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Mekhii Noble finished with four points and seven rebounds.
The Panthers needed every point they could get to counter the impressive performance by Thomas’ Joshua Scott, who scored 46 of his team’s 85 points in the game.
“What a performance by Scott,” said Mims. “He had an unbelievable second half. A one-man show, truly phenomenal. I had to pull Scott aside after the game and tell him that it was one of the best individual performances I had seen in my 38 years of coaching.
“Of course Scott’s performance, as good as it was, was not enough to overshadow the great games by some of our guys tonight.”
It was a back-and-forth affair between the teams throughout the 40 minutes of action. In total, there were seven lead changes and seven ties occurring in the game, and neither squad was able to build a lead more than 11 points.
An outside jumper by Murphy off an assist by Valur Valsson handed the Panthers a 9-8 lead with 16:19 to go in the first half. TU answered with six straight points to grab a 14-9 edge at the 14:43 mark.
Tech regained the lead 24-23 on a layup by Noble with 7:25 remaining. The bucket was part of an 11-0 run by the Panthers that included threes by Schaneville and Pefanis. Schaneville capped off the spree with a fast-break layup that turned into an and-one opportunity, which he converted to give the Crimson & Gray a 30-23 advantage with 6:15 to go.
Four minutes later, Florida Tech led 36-29 following a made free throw by Ziegler. However, a 7-0 run by the Night Hawks tied the game at 36-36 with 56 seconds left in the first half. Schaneville put the Panthers up by two with his long jumper with 36 seconds remaining but Scott answered with a bucket of his own in the final seconds to even the score at 38-38 at halftime.
Murphy opened the second half with a strong take to the rim as he drew the foul and then converted the and-one opportunity to put the Panthers up 41-38. On the ensuing possession, Sesan Russell corralled an offensive rebound and found Schaneville who knocked down a three to increase Tech’s lead to six.
Thomas responded, once again, with a 7-1 run to tie the game at 45-45 following a three-pointer by TU’s Trint Bryant with 16:30 to go. Murphy and Schaneville teamed up to produce their own 7-1 spree with Schaneville’s three at the end putting the Panthers up 52-46 with 14:45 left.
However, the Night Hawks answered again scoring seven straight, including five points by Scott, and regained the lead 53-52.
The Panthers did not trail for long though, as they pieced together a 16-8 run to go up 68-61 with 7:01 remaining. Thomas came storming back and decreased the margin to two on a jumper by Scott with 5:34 left.
With just minutes to go in regulation, Florida Tech took over momentum and ensued on a 14-8 scoring run, capped by a fast break dunk by Murphy, to give the Panthers their largest lead of the game, 82-71, with 55 seconds to go.
Scott did all he could to get Thomas back in the game, scoring 11 points during the final minute. However, Ziegler and Schaneville were big down the stretch as well to keep the Panthers ahead. Ziegler scored six points and Schaneville sank all four of his free throws to help secure Florida Tech’s third straight home win.
The Panthers finished the game shooting 29-of-70 (41.4%) from the field and 11-of-27 (40.7%) beyond the arc, in addition to making 23-of-31 free throws. Thomas knocked down 34-of-66 (51.5%) of its shots on the night, including 5-of-20 (25%) from three, and 12-of-23 from the charity stripe.
Tech won the rebounding battle 46-36 as well as ended with an advantage in second-chance points 12-3, fast break points 21-16 and bench points 43-16.
Both squads protected the ball well, each finishing with nine turnovers in the game. Thomas outscored the Panthers 12-8 in points off turnovers and had a 46-26 advantage in points in the paint.
Florida Tech will now get to rest and recover over the holiday break.
The Panthers are back in action after New Years’ as they resume Sunshine State Conference play by hosting Florida Southern on Jan. 2. Tipoff for the matchup is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Clemente Center.
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