Florida Tech Men’s Basketball Lose Nail-Biter Against Barry 86-84, Extends Losing Streak to Three Games
By Florida Tech // February 6, 2020
Sesan Russell leads tech with 31 pts., 6 Reb.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech was dealt another heartbreaking defeat Wednesday evening as Barry came back from a double-digit second-half deficit and won on a last-second shot to hand the Panthers an 86-84 loss at the Clemente Center.
The Panthers have now lost three in a row since taking down Saint Leo on Jan. 25. Tech drops to ninth in the SSC standings with a 4-10 league record. Barry improved to 10-4 in the conference play, further solidifying its spot among the top three teams in the SSC.
“We did all we could tonight,” said head coach Billy Mims. “I am proud of our guy’s effort against a very good conference opponent in Barry, one of the top teams in the Sunshine State Conference. We played a great game of basketball tonight but it is still disappointing to lose a game like that, against a team you think you have a chance to beat.”
Runako Ziegler had another electrifying game scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting including a number of circus shots in the paint. Derek Murphy added 14 points and six rebounds while Mekhii Noble tallied 11 points and three rebounds.
The Panthers got off to a fast start as Russell accounted for the first five points of the game. The sophomore hit a jumper on the opening possession, he then pulled down a defensive rebound on the other end before coming down and swishing a trey.
Tech jumped out to a 9-1 over the first two minutes of the ballgame. Barry responded with a 10-2 run that tied the game at 11-11 with 14:30 to go in the half.
The teams went back-and-forth the next seven minutes with each team gaining and then losing the lead.
With 7:21 left on the clock, the teams were tied at 27-27. On the next possession, Murphy hit a jumper in the paint, off an assist from Valur Valsson, to put Tech up by two and kick off a 13-0 run that gave the Panthers a 40-27 lead with 4:08 to go before halftime.
Florida Tech rode the momentum the remainder of the half and was able to carry a 48-37 advantage into the locker room. The Panthers shot 57.1% (20-of-35) from the field in the first half, helping Mims’ squad take a double-digit lead into the break.
The Bucs came out of halftime with an 11-4 run that cut the margin down to four with 16:14 left. However, Tech countered with a 9-0 run to grow its lead to 61-48 at the 13:45 mark.
Similar to the first half, both Barry and Florida Tech ensued on a back-and-forth pattern. Eventually, the Bucs were able to trim the difference down to 79-72 with 5:01 on the clock.
Another 10-2 run by Barry handed the Bucs their first lead of the second half, 82-81 with 2:07 remaining. With BU ahead 84-82, Ziegler drew a foul and converted both free throws to tie the game at 84.
This left Barry just over three seconds to get a good look and shot off. Knowing they needed to get a chance at the rim, the Bucs threw the ball towards the basket and BU’s Tylan Birts grasped the pass over the top of Murphy and then put up the game-winning shot to make the score 86-84. A last-ditch effort from Harry Craik came up short in the waning seconds and Barry came away with the narrow win.
The men’s basketball team is back in action this Saturday, Feb. 8, at No. 7 Florida Southern. The game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Jenkins Field House in Lakeland, Fla.
For the latest news, updates and information on the Florida Tech men’s basketball team, visit FloridaTechSports.com.
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