Panthers Suffer Huge Last Minute Loss Against Palm Beach Atlantic
Desmond Greene led the Panthers with 21 points
MELBOURNE, Fla.-Despite Florida Tech (2-5) shooting 64.0% from the field against the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish (2-7) timing was not the name of this
game tonight falling 84-to-83 in final few seconds of the contest at the Clemente Center. Senior guard, Desmond Greene (Rockledge, Fla.) tied his all time
single game record for scoring 21 points to lead the Panthers. Greene’s previous record was set last season when he hit 21 against Tampa on February 18th,
2004 breaking his 2003 record for 20 points scored against Nova Southeastern on February 26th.
Even though timing was not on Tech’s side, shooting was the name of the game for both teams. Despite the Crimson and Gray shooting above 50% for the
contest, the Sailfish were close behind totaling 47.9% for the evening. The Panthers hit 32 field goals with seven of them coming from the arc and actually
out-rebounded the Sailfish 34 to 33. The problem that Tech faced was holding on to the ball, turning it over 26 times and forcing the Sailfish to just 12
turnovers. Defensively, they out hustled the Sailfish under the glass, but offensively they didn’t block out grabbing only four offensive rebounds not
allowing for many second shots.
The score see-sawed throughout the game showing a tie score eleven times. Greene started the second half surge at about 9:42 left on the clock when he was
fouled at the arc by freshman guard Sterling Brown (Orlando, Fla.). He made two of his three shots from the line and lessened the lead to two buckets.
Greene, who missed the final free throw, grabbed his own rebound and hammered a three point shot bringing the Panthers to within one at 66-to-67.
At close to eight minutes left, Derek Barnes made a lay-up to put the Sailfish ahead but three once again. Coming off the bench, senior forward Romark
Suckra (Kingston, Jamaica) retaliated and made a back door lay-up off a perfectly executed pass by sophomore point guard E. J. Murray (Rockledge, Fla.).
Suckra drew the foul turned the lay-up into a three point conversion to tie the game for the 9th time at 69-to-69. For the next three minutes, the lead
went back and forth between the Panthers and the Sailfish.
Suckra pushed Tech on their final run with 5:51 remaining executing the same play adding three more points to the Panthers tally. Tech went up as much as
five off of two made free throws by senior forward Titas Vainuaskas (Vilnius, Lithuania) at 3:25 on the clock. Play got knotted up again with two minutes
left with the score 81 all when freshman forward Sean Tucker (Charlotte , N.C.) drove a break away lay-up home for Palm Beach.
In the last minute of play, two mistakes were made that left the door open for the Sailfish to grab the victory. Murray, despite being one of Tech’s most
consistent scorers, fouled freshman guard Spencer Foreman (Houston, Tex.) with 18 second left allowing the Sailfish to jump ahead by one 83-84. The
Panthers had one more possession to score with under fifteen seconds and Murray unfortunately was unable to hold on the ball allowing freshman forward
Lawrence Reed (Summerville, S.C.) to steal Tech’s final chance of the upset.
Greene finished playing the entire 40 minutes adding seven rebounds, three steals and going 4-5 from the arc. Three other Panthers scored in the double
figures. Murray was not far behind notching 17 points and a career and season high for Tech adding 15 assists. This was his first double-double for his
career. Senior forward Damian Clarke (Orange Park, Fla.) hit his season high with 13 points and led all players under the glass with eight rebounds.
Vainauskas chipped in 14 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and one steal.
Sophomore center Jod Kelley (McCormick, S.C.) rounded out the starting line-up grabbing his first starting not with seven points, two rebounds, one assist,
one block and one steal. Suckra finished with nine points.
Palm Beach Atlantic was led by Tucker with 23 points and six rebounds. Barnes added 18 points while Foreman had eleven points.
The Panthers will be on hiatus for a week due to exams and will open back up on Saturday, December 17th when they host Southeastern College for a 6:00 p.m.