Tech Battles in the End for a Loss at the Home of the “Phi Slamma Jamma”
Ryan Maultsby lead the Panthers with 19 points against Houston Cougars
HOUSTON, Texas-The Florida Tech Panthers (2-2) fell 131-62 to the #24 Division I University of Houston Cougars (1-0) in their season opener to a crowd of
4,654 at the famous Hofheinz Pavilion. Yesterday when Tech first set foot on the Guy V. Lewis Court in the historic Hofheinz Pavilion the Panthers were in
awe of the basketball tradition that was displayed across the oval arena including banners of retired jerseys of some of the all time greats including
Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon and Elvin Hayes and Otis Birdsong. Despite the two practice sessions at Houston, the Panthers still seemed awestruck in the
first ten minutes of the game allowing the Cougars to get a huge jump 30-0 in their first victory.
Despite the lack of defense in those early minutes senior sixth man center Kevin Krieg (Ft. Myers, Fla.) got the ball rolling for Tech scoring the first
two buckets. After grabbing an offensive rebound, Krieg was fouled and successfully took the line to score the first Panther points ever at Hofheinz at
11:15 on the game clock. Also coming off the bench junior point guard Matt Hill (Ft. Myers, Fla.) scored the first field goal around a half a minute later.
After the starting line-up of sophomore guard E. J. Murray (Rockledge, Fla.), senior guard Desmond Greene (Rockledge, Fla.), senior forward Ryan Maultsby
(Vero Beach, Fla.), senior forward Titas Vainauskas (Vilnius, Lithuania) and junior center Damian Clark (Orange Park, Fla.) was unable to score, Head Coach
Billy Mims took out four of the starters except Maultsby.
The bench seemed to give the Panthers a jump in their offensive game. Hill cored next for Tech making both free throws. Maultsby finally hit Tech’s first
three point shot that they are known for in under nine minutes left in the half. Despite the rough start, the Panthers headed into the locker room with 27
points to the Cougars 69 points.
Coming back on the court, Tech again had a rough start allowing the Cougars to grab a 55 point lead until Hill came back in and sunk a jumper at 14:46 on
the clock. Hill again scored the next point on a driving lay-up against four defenders in the paint. Hill finished up eight points and the team high three
Leading the way for Tech was Ryan Maultsby who picked up his game in the final ten minutes of the game hitting 4-11 from the three point arc tallying 19
total points and eight rebounds and two blocks against a team that averages about 6-5 in height. Murray who also had a rough start finally started to hit
his shots added 16 points for the night.
Defensively, junior forward Edmond Parotte (Las Vegas, Nev.) was Tech’s key reservist under the boards pulling down eight rebounds. Sophomore center Jod
Kelley (McCormick, SC) also saw his first action this season totaling four rebounds, two points and two steals.
Rounding off the scoring was senior guard Brad Rich (Oviedo, Fla.) who also played numerous minutes for the Panthers added five points. Vainauskas had a
disappointing night hitting only one bucket and finishing the game one point shy of his career 1,000th point.
The Cougars freshman bench personnel really stepped up including freshman Lamar Roberson (Baton Rouge, La.) was the high scorer of the game with 25 points
breaking a school record for three pointers by a freshman going 7-10 from the arc. The team also broke a twelve year record hitting 19 three point shots.
Despite the record breaking night, the Panthers did not allow them to break their largest margin of victory finishing 131-62.
The loss was a hard one for the experienced upperclassman, but coach Mims was able to clear his bench and give all of his players a chance to play were
basketball history is a tradition.
The Panther will be facing their final Division I match-up of the year traveling to Miami to play Florida International on Thursday, December 1 at a 7:00