Florida Tech Falls Short In Road Finale Against Tampa 59-51 at Bob Martinez Center

By  //  February 21, 2020

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Jalen Hodges led Tech with 14 points

It was a different night for Florida Tech on the road at Tampa on Wednesday as the Panthers had their worst shooting game of the season and dropped their road finale to the Spartans 59-51 at the Bob Martinez Center. (FIT Image)

TAMPA, FLORIDA – It was a different night for Florida Tech on the road at Tampa on Wednesday as the Panthers had their worst shooting game of the season and dropped their road finale to the Spartans 59-51 at the Bob Martinez Center.

The Crimson & Gray were unable to shake off their road woes all season and have now ended the campaign with a 0-11 record in away road.

Jalen Hodges paced Florida Tech with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and 4-of-5 on free throws, to go along with three rebounds, two steals and one block. Runako Ziegler finished with 10 points and five rebounds while Trey Schaneville added nine points and four rebounds. Valur Valsson collected a team-high seven rebounds and four assists.

The Panthers had one of their worst shooting games of the season as they made 18-of-55 from the field, 4-of-23 from beyond the arc, and 11-of-17 on free throws. Tampa was not much better as the Spartans also made just 17-of-52 of their shots, including 3-of-18 from long range, and 22-of-34 at the charity stripe.

In fact, both teams finished the game with identical shooting percentages of 33% from the field, 17% from three and 65% from the free-throw line. The 17% shot rate from beyond the arc is a new season-low for the Panthers.

Tampa controlled the rebounding battle (49-33), while Florida Tech outscored the Spartans in points off turnovers (48-47), bench points (28-2), points in the paint (26-22) and fast-break points (8-4).

Both Tech and UT had a tumultuous first half shooting the ball as the defenses reigned supreme and limited both teams to a combined 15-of-53 shooting including 2-of-18 from three.

A three by Schaneville tied the game at 7-7 with 11:37 to go in the first half. The Spartans ensued on a 7-2 run to draw ahead 14-9 at the 7:19 mark. Florida Tech eventually cut the margin to 18-16 following a pair of free throws by Hodges with 3:42 left before halftime.

Ziegler closed the half with back-to-back fast-break lay-ins for the Panthers to make the score 22-20 in favor of Tampa at the half.

The 20 points are the fewest scored by the Panthers in a half this season, four fewer than their previous low of 24 against Nova Southeastern on Jan. 11.

A quick and-1 play by Hodges gave Florida Tech its first lead of the ball game at 23-22 just 20 seconds after halftime. However, UT regained the lead on the next possession and then ensued on a 15-5 run to grow its lead to 37-28 with 13:40 to go.

After Tampa grabbed its largest lead of the game at 44-34, the Panthers proceeded on a 9-2 run and cut the deficit to two on a three-pointer by Schaneville with 5:37 remaining. The Spartans answered with their own 8-2 run to push their lead to 53-45 with 59 seconds to go.

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Florida Tech did its best to try to claw closer during the waning seconds but Tampa would make the majority of its free throws down the final stretch and held off Tech for the eight-point win.

The Panthers will need to win out over the final two games to give themselves the best chance to secure one of the last SSC tournament spots.

That will be a daunting task, though, as Florida Tech is set to face No. 10 Nova Southeastern this Saturday, Feb. 22 and rival Rollins College in the regular-season finale on Feb. 26. Both games will be played at the Clemente Center.

Saturday’s tip-off between the Panthers and Sharks is set for 4 p.m.

For the latest news, updates and information on the Florida Tech men’s basketball team, visit FloridaTechSports.com.

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