Panthers Prevail in the Battle of the Cats
MELBOURNE, Fla.-Sophomore starting point guard E. J. Murray (Rockledge, Fla.) ensured a Florida Tech 90-84 victory scoring the game high 26 points helping
topple the Florida Memorial Lions (4-4) in another of Tech’s high scoring battles thus far this season. Murray who made the key shots towards the end of
the ball game really showed his maturity despite being the youngest player on the court for the Panthers and led the team with seven assists. He also broke
a career record going a perfect 10-10 from the line only four shy of the 28 year old Panther Individual Game Record.
Heading into the locker room Tech only had a surprising three point lead 38-35 unable to stop the Lions defensively. Florida Memorial out hustled the
Panthers under the boards with 26 rebounds to Tech’s 19 for the first half. Free throws were the only reason Florida Tech (2-1) had the lead at the half
only shooting 11-for-28 from the field to Florida Memorial’s 16-for-39.
In the second half, Tech came alive with Murray hitting two consecutive three point shots at the 15th and 13th minute followed by senior forward Ryan
Maultsby (Vero Beach, Fla.) hitting a three point shot with 12:37 left on the clock. These three goals put the Panthers at their highest lead of the game
at 59-42 with Tech showing a 17 point advantage.
Despite the resurge in the earlier part of the second half, the Panthers slowly ran out of gas allowing the lead to disintegrate. At about seven minute
remaining in regulation playing time the Lions cut the lead by five showing a 69-64 on the scoreboard. Tech allowed two consecutive three point shots by
sophomore guard Reggie Thomas (Burlington, N.J.) putting the Panthers under some pressure to regain the double figure lead they had earlier.
About a minute later the Lions lessen the lead by two buckets 71-67 with another three pointer by teammate forward Tremaine Stephens (Miami, Florida). The
score remained stagnate after that when junior center Damian Clark (Orange Park, Fla.) missed his shot at two points from the line. Maultsby struck next
after hitting a lay-up at 5:28 and the Lions answered five seconds later with a bucket by guard Daniel Garcia (Miami, Fla.) taking it to 73-69 putting the
Panthers up by only four again.
This battle continued until Florida Memorial brought it to one point at 4:28 on the clock when Garcia drove to the basket and scored showing 73-72 on the
board. Again Tech came back after senior Titas Vainauskas sunk both free throws, but then after two fouls by the Panthers the lead went back to one at 3:51
on the clock.
The turning point came when Clark caught air and brought down the house with a dunk after a key time-out called by Head Coach Billy Mims. After this the
Panthers Murray and senior guard Desmond Greene (Rockledge, Fla.) put up some essential three point goals and Murray sunk all six of his buckets at the
line to ensure the six point victory.
Maultsby finished with 21 points leading the way from the field hitting seven out of twelve. Vainauskas was one board shy of a double-double adding 16
points, nine rebounds, five blocks and two steals. Clark who was also perfect from the line hitting 4-for-4 chipped in 12 points and six rebounds. Greene
tallied nine points, five rebounds, four assists, one block and two steals.
Sixth man senior center Kevin Krieg (Ft. Myers, Fla.) notched four rebounds and one block patrolling the paint.
Four separate Lions grabbed double figures for the night including non starter Thomas who lead his team with 18 points despite the loss. Garcia pitched in
13 points and eight rebounds for the Lions.
The Panthers will be back in action on Tuesday, November 22 when they fly to the Texas to take on the #24 University of Houston (home of the famous Phi
Slamma Jamma) in NCAA Division I basketball action at a 7:00 p.m. CST tip-off. The game will be aired in a live broadcast at the following link: