Florida Tech Falls to Rollins College In Double Overtime Thriller 94-92 On Senior Night
By Florida Tech Sports Information // February 28, 2020
Unusual Hour Delay Due to broken rim in overtime
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – In one of the more memorable games in the history of the Clemente Center, the Senior Night game between Florida Tech and Rollins was filled with emotions, comebacks, buzzer-beaters and a broken rim that left everybody hanging in suspense for more than an hour.
Not to mention a two-overtime thriller. All of that characterized the final game of the 2019-20 season.
Rollins ended up winning the game 94-92 but not before being pushed beyond their limits and patience.
Both teams thought they had won the game in regulation and both overtimes. Ultimately, the game came down to who could get the last stop. Unfortunately, for the Panthers, it was not their night, as Rollins would score with 26 seconds to go to earn the victory.
Sesan Russell finished as the leading scorer in the game with 27 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and 9-of-11 free throws, in addition to recording nine rebounds. Derek Murphy finished off his prolific career with another double-double on 22 points and 15 rebounds while playing 50 minutes in the contest.
Nieja Jordan came off the bench to score 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting and seven rebounds. Trey Schaneville added 11 points and three rebounds while Antonis Pefanis registered eight points, five rebounds and four assists in his final collegiate game.
Tech finished the game shooting 33-of-78 (42.3%) from the field, including 9-of-34 (26.5%) from beyond the arc, and 17-of-25 (68%) from the charity stripe. Rollins ended the contest making 31-of-76 (40.8%) from the field, 14-of-33 (42.4%) from three and 18-of-21 (85.7%) free-throw attempts.
Florida Tech ended with an advantage in the rebounding department 48-39, which the Panthers turned into a 29-15 edge in second-chance points. Tech doubled-up the Tars in bench points 60-30 and finished with more points in the paint 36-34.
Given that it was Senior Night, all five of Florida Tech’s seniors started the contest for the Crimson & Gray. The emotions were running high but the Panthers had to weather an early storm by the Tars, who jumped out to a 16-6 lead following a pair of free throws by RC’s Jakobi Bonner with 12:04 left in the first half.
The gap reached as much as 14 points, 27-13, following a three-ball by the Tars with 8:27 remaining before halftime. However, the Panthers came roaring back thanks to a 17-5 run that was capped by a driving layup from Runako Ziegler that made the score 32-30 with 3:37 to go.
Rollins would eventually take a 39-35 advantage into halftime following a buzzer-beating layup by Dayton Gumm to end the first half.
Following a back-and-forth start to the second half, the Panthers finally started to get momentum. A three by Murphy with 7:35 left in regulation kicked off a 10-4 run that gave the Panthers their largest lead of the game at 71-62 after a trey by Russell with 4:22 remaining.
The Tars responded with a 9-1 run to tie the game at 72-72 with just 44 seconds to go in regulation. Free throws by Russell and Jordan gave Tech a two-point lead with just four seconds remaining in regulation. That was all Rollins needed as Bonner collected the in-bound pass, went coast-to-coast and laid it off the glass at the buzzer to tie it up at 74-74 and force overtime.
The teams went back-and-forth through the first overtime period. Rollins took an 85-82 lead on a Trey by Kyle Marion with 28 seconds to go. Schaneville got the ball with 14 seconds left in front of the Panther bench and sank a deep three with two hands in his face to tie the game again at 85.
Marion struck again with four seconds left, hitting a three from way out beyond the arc to give his squad an 88-85 advantage.
With little time left, Russell got the ball and streaked down the court. He would get fouled trying to put up a last-ditch shot well behind the three-point line. Russell made all three of his tries at the charity stripe to force a second overtime period.
Less than a minute into the second overtime, Murphy got the ball off a pass from Russell and threw down a monstrous dunk that bent the rim out of place, freezing the game with 4:06 left on the clock. Several crews worked on the broken rim for over an hour and finally was able to jar it loose in order to put up a replacement.
Overall, the teams, fans and everyone working the game sat in what turned out to be an hour and a half delay in the middle of the game.
Once action resumed, the Panthers would take the lead on a pair of free throws by Russell. The Tars then drew level just over a minute later on a layup by Gumm. They would take the lead with 2:12 to play when RC’s Connor McKim converted his two free throws.
Murphy was able to even things up with just over a minute remaining on a tip-in from a missed Schaneville three-pointer. However, Gumm would provide the ultimate advantage with 26 seconds remaining on a put-back dunk following a missed layup by McKim.
A late three-point attempt by Murphy, which would have given Tech the lead, was just short and Pefanis could not put the rebound back home and after a mad scramble, time and the season ran out on the Panthers.
The game typified the Panthers’ 2019-20 season. While the result may not have gone their way, Florida Tech made its opponents truly work for every inch while entertaining their fans all along the way.
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