MELBOURNE, Fla. — The Florida Tech Panthers (6-20, 2-13) pull off a Homecoming upset shutting down the Tampa Spartans (18-8, 9-6) 69-64 at the Clemente
Center honoring the seven departing seniors in Sunshine State Conference men’s basketball action tonight. This makes the 13th all time win over Tampa in
the 41 year history leaving the all time record between the two schools 13-36 in the Spartans favor. Tech’s last win against Tampa came on February 3, 1999
at home when former assistant coach and player Brandon Palmer scored 23 points to grab the victory.
The Panthers jumped out early in the game controlling the tempo and made the big shots to push Florida Tech ahead at the half by ten 40-30. Leading the way
hitting five key buckets from the arc was Senior Ryan Maultsby (Vero Beach, Fla.) notching 15 points in the first half. Two other Panthers had also scored
in the double figures heading into the locker room including Sophomores EJ Murray (Rockledge, Fla.) with 11 points and Jod Kelley (McCormick S.C.) with 10
points and eight rebounds.
Over the course of the game the score flip-flopped six times with both teams knotting it up at six separate occasions as well. Coming off the break, the
Crimson and Gray looked as if they had lost their spark losing the edge by 14:38 allowing Tampa to come back 41-42 off of two made from the charity stripe
by senior Mark Borders (Orlando, Fla.). However the Panthers did not stay stale for long with Maultsby scoring at 13:17 to retake the lead.
Again at 10:03 the score knotted up when sophomore Jeremy Black (Tampa, Fla.) hit a lay-up to tie it 48-48. Senior Titas Vainauskas answered right back
with his own glass shot to regain the lead 50-48. Tampa again retaliated off a three pointer by sophomore Chris Evans (Tampa, Fla.).
This time Murray launched one from the arc at 7:59 to start the run for the Crimson and Gray in which they would go up by as much as seven points in the
next five minutes.
The score seesawed back in Tampa’s direction when at 1:57 senior Marcus Bright (Martin, Tenn.) hit a three point shot to tie the score up 62 all for the
third time. Vainauskas again hit a key lay-up inside and the Panthers were again up by two. For the final time, Tampa tied it with 52 seconds left off of
two from the line by Borders.
Maultsby launched his sixth and final three pointer with 18 seconds left to pump the Homecoming crowd and ensure the victory by the Panthers.
Senior Michael Carbenia (Orlando, Florida) hit the last two points of the game from the charity stripe to push Tech ahead by five and grab the upset.
The victory proved to be an awesome send-off for the seven honored seniors including Maultsby, Vainauskas, Carbenia, Desmond Greene (Rockledge, Fla.),
Remark Suckra (Kingston, Jamaica), Brad Rich (Oviedo, Fla.) and Kevin Krieg (Ft. Myers, Fla.).
Maultsby finished with 20 points, while Kelley notched a career high in boards achieving a double double with 14 rebounds and ten points. Murray added 16
points and Vainauskas finished with 12 points. Seniors Rich had three points and Krieg had four points.
Tampa’s Evans led all scorers with 22 points while Black had a double double notching 16 rebounds and 13 points. Borders scored 19 points for the evening.
Tech will be back in action on Saturday finishing off their regular season play over in Lakeland facing the Florida Southern Mocs in SSC action at 7:30