Florida Tech Dominates Toccoa Falls College 86-53 at Florida-Georgia Winter Classic
By Florida Tech // December 21, 2019
Panthers improve to 6-1 at home this season
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The Florida Tech men’s basketball team cruised to a wire-to-wire 86-53 victory over Toccoa Falls College during the opening day of the Florida-Georgia Winter Classic Friday evening at the Clemente Center.
The Panthers improve to 6-1 at home this season, including a 5-0 record against non-conference opponents.
Derek Murphy nearly had a double-double as he led all players with 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and four assists. Sesan Russell added 16 points and four rebounds on 7-of-12 from the field while Antonis Pefanis registered a double-double on 11 points and 10 rebounds. Runako Ziegler finished with 11 points, two rebounds and two assists.
Florida Tech finished with an advantage in rebounding 51-39 while scoring more points in the paint 40-24 and more fastbreak points 16-4.
The biggest difference in the game was the Panther defense, which limited Toccoa Falls to 22-of-66 (33.3%) shooting, including 5-of-18 (27.8%) from three-point range, and 4-of-12 (33.3%) from the free-throw line.
Tech, on the other hand, finished 34-of-71 (47.9%), while making 7-of-25 (28.0%) from beyond the arc and 11-of-17 (64.7%) at the charity stripe.
The Panthers got off to a fast start leading 7-0 following Russell’s fastbreak layup at the 18:07 mark. A nice run by the Screaming Eagles got the score to 11-9 on a three by TFC’s Quinton Brown with 14:56 left in the first half.
Tech answered with a 7-0 run to grab an 18-9 lead on Mekhii Noble’s fastbreak layup off an assist from Valur Valsson with 13:31 left in the half. Threes by Pefanis, Murphy and Trey Schaneville increased the advantage to 31-16 with 8:04 remaining.
The Panthers continued to grow the margin the rest of the half and went into the break leading 45-30.
Florida Tech’s resumed its offensive onslaught after halftime, growing its lead to 31 points, 63-32, on a layup by Murphy with less than 14 minutes to go.
The difference between the teams stayed around 30 points the remainder of the game, even reaching a game-high 39, 82-43, on a trey by Russell with 4:36 left on the clock.
The Panthers cruised through the waning moments before earning the 33-point victory when the final buzzer rang.
Florida Tech will look for a repeat performance when it returns to the Clemente Center on Saturday for day two of Florida-Georgia Winter Classic. The action begins at 3:30 p.m. with the matchup between Barry and Toccoa Falls followed by the Panthers’ contest with Thomas (Ga.) at 6 p.m.
For the latest news, updates and information on the Florida Tech men’s basketball team, visit FloridaTechSports.com.
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