Despite Sean Russell’s 34 Points, Florida Southern Cruises by Florida Tech, 112-82
By Florida Tech Sports Information // February 9, 2020
Panthers travel to St. Petersburg, Feb. 12
LAKELAND, FLORIDA – Despite an impressive scoring display by Sesan Russell, the Florida Tech men’s basketball was no match for No. 6 Florida Southern Saturday night as the Panthers were dealt their fourth straight loss 112-82 at Jenkins Field House.
Tech drops to 10-13 overall and 4-11 in SSC play while the Mocs improve their record to 21-2 including a 13-2 mark in league play. The Panthers are still without a win on the road this season, moving to 0-9 in games away from the Clemente Center.
Russell led all players in the contest with 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting, including 6-of-10 from three-point range. This is the sophomore’s third game scoring 30 or more points this season and is two short of his career-high 36 points set in a win over Lynn this season on Dec. 7, 2019. In fact, two of those 30-point games have come this week as Russell tallied 31 in the loss to Barry on Wednesday.
Derek Murphy was the only other Panther in double-figures against the Mocs, recording 13 points and 10 rebounds. This is the senior’s eighth time registering a double-double this season.
Trey Schaneville came off the bench to score nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from three. Nieja Jordan and Mekhii Noble each tallied six points and four rebounds in the loss. Mate Papai added six points and Runako Ziegler scored five points and collected four rebounds.
After a good-shooting first half, in which Tech made 44.7% from the field and 60% from three, the Panthers finished the game at 31-of-80 (38.8%), including 5-of-16 (31.25%) from beyond the arc. Tech made just 9-of-17 free throws in the game.
FSC, on the other hand, concluded the game with a field goal percentage of 59.5% (44-of-74) while making 14-of-30 (46.7%) from three and 10-of-14 at the charity stripe.
The Mocs won the rebounding battle 45-39. Tech did lead in offensive boards 21-13, which they turned into 21 second-chance points. FSC controlled points in the paint, 58-34, fast-break points, 28-2 and points off turnovers, 17-13. The Panthers had just one block in the game compared to 10 by FSC.
It was a back-and-forth game for much of the first half between the Panthers and Mocs. Russell was the catalyst throughout and tied the game at 9-9 at the 15:16 mark on his first three-pointer of the game.
FSC went on a quick 8-2 run to draw ahead 17-11 with 13:09 to go in the half but the Panthers were able to tie it up, again, at 19-19 with 11:50 left thanks to threes by Ziegler and Russell.
Later in the half, Russell put Tech up 26-25 on another three with 8:23 remaining. That field goal kicked off a streak of Russell scoring 10 straight points for Panthers, which concluded him tying the game, 33-33, with 5:37 to go.
The Mocs would begin to take over momentum after a big dunk by Jalyn Hinton that broke a 41-41 tie with 3:27 left. FSC outscored Tech 12-3 the rest of the half and carried a 55-44 advantage into the break.
Florida Southern had grown its lead to 72-55 with 15:08 to go. Russell answered with a trey on the other end to cut the margin to 14. That was the closest the Panthers would get the rest of the game as the Mocs pushed their lead to 88-68 at the 5:48 mark.
FSC cruised the rest of the way and eventually won by a 30-point margin and sweep the season series.
Florida Tech will look to get back on track next Wednesday, Feb. 12, when the Panthers travel to St. Petersburg for a showdown with Eckerd College. Tech defeated the Tritons 71-63 in their first matchup of the season on Jan. 8. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at the McArthur Center.
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