Derek Murphy’s Double-Double Not Enough As Tech Falls to Rollins 87-67

By  //  January 23, 2020

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Murphy with his sixth double-double this season

It was a rough shooting night for Florida Tech in its SSC matchup with rival Rollins College on Wednesday evening and the Panthers fell 87-67 on the road at Warden Arena. (FIT Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – It was a rough shooting night for Florida Tech in its SSC matchup with rival Rollins College on Wednesday evening and the Panthers fell 87-67 on the road at Warden Arena.

Derek Murphy rattled off his sixth double-double of the season, and fifth in the last seven games, to lead the Panthers with 21 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Sesan Russell joined Murphy in double-figures with 15 points and three rebounds. Mekhii Noble and Trey Schaneville finished with nine points apiece.

With his team-high six assists against the Tars, Valur Valsson has surpassed the 400-career assist milestone and now sits at 405. He is 24 assists away from setting the Florida Tech record for career assists.

The Panthers made 24-of-64 (38%) shots against the Tars’ difficult zone defense, including just 8-of-36 (22%) from beyond the arc, to go with an 11-of-15 effort on free throws. Rollins finished 28-of-60 (47%) shooting in the game while going 12-of-30 (73%) from long range and 19-of-23 at the line.

Rollins earned with a slight edge in rebounding, 40-37, while both teams ended with 12 turnovers on the night. The Panthers and Tars were equal in producing on the inside with each scoring 30 points in the paint. The Tars also led in fast-break points, 19-12, and bench points, 30-25.

The week-long gap between games seemed to affect the Panthers early on as they got off to a rough start shooting the ball.

Russell knocked down a pair of threes to put Tech up 6-3 with 16:51 left in the first half. The Panthers then went scoreless for the next five minutes of game time allowing the Tars to jump out to a 15-6 lead with 12:39 to go.

Murphy ended the slump with five quick points on consecutive baskets to trim Rollins’ advantage to 15-11. A highlight reel dunk by Hodges and a jumper by Murphy kept the margin at four with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half.

After Russell drained two free throws with 7:50 to go to make the score 24-17, the Tars stepped up their game and began to take over momentum on both sides of the court.

Rollins answered with a dunk and three-pointer on consecutive possessions to kick off an 18-9 run that put the Tars up 42-26 at the 1:50 mark of the half. Tech was able to tighten up and close the half on a 6-2 run to make the score 44-31 at the break.

Noble started the half off strong as he scored six of the Panthers’ first nine points to make the score 53-40 with 16:16 remaining. Tech then trimmed the margin to 12 with 12:49 to go in the game.

The Tars knocked down four consecutive shots from beyond the arc to build its lead to 77-55 with 5:45 left on the clock.

A pair of threes by Schaneville helped bring the Panthers’ deficit down to 15 points with 4:22 remaining. However, Tech then went cold from the field, once again, allowing Rollins to ensue on a 9-0 run and increase its lead to a game-high 24 points with just 59 seconds on the clock.

Mate Papai and Noble each hit a layup to bring the final margin to 20 points as the Panthers dropped to 0-6 on the road this season and 3-7 in conference play.

Florida Tech will look to bounce back from tonight’s loss when the Panthers open the second half of the SSC schedule with a home game against Saint Leo on Saturday, Jan. 25. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at the Clemente Center.

Saturday’s contest is the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers Game. The coaching staffs of both Florida Tech and Saint Leo will join staffs across the nation who are wearing sneakers with their suits during games to raise awareness for the disease. The coaches also help save lives from cancer by raising funds and encouraging people to educate themselves about cancer prevention, screening, and early detection.

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