LAKELAND, FL – Sean Cooke hit six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 22 points, and Bentley College connected on 15, 3-pointers as a team to roll past
Florida Tech, 85-54, in the first game of the Florida Southern Holiday Classic.
The Falcons (5-5) ended a five-game losing streak by bombing the Panthers (3-7) from behind the arc all night. It started less than a minute into the game
when All-American guard Tim Forbes hit a long-range shot to give Bentley a 3-0 lead. By the time the game was over, the Falcons had gone 15-for-36 on
3-pointers, with Cooke going six-for-10 and Forbes going four-for-eight.
Florida Tech was active from long range too, making 12, 3-pointers in 28 attempts. E.J. Murray (Rockledge, Fla.) made five and Titas Vainauskas (Vilnius,
Lithuania) made four. However, the Panthers had little or no inside game and were outscored 32-6 in the paint. Their only lead of the game came just over
two minutes into the contest when Murray hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put them ahead briefly at 6-5.
Nate Fritsch answered with a 3-pointer for Bentley about a minute later to give his team the lead for the rest of the night. The Falcons then put the game
away by out-scoring the Panthers 22-5 over the final 9½ minutes of the first half and scoring the first four points of the second half. During that time,
Florida Tech was just one-for-17 from the floor and committed five turnovers.
In addition to Cooke’s 22 points, the Falcons also got 14 points and 10 rebounds from Jeff Holmes, and 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists from
Murray and Vainauskas each scored 20 for Florida Tech, which shot just 31 percent in the game, including 21 percent in the first half when they trailed
41-17 at the break.
Florida Tech will play West Georgia in its second game at tournament on Friday at 6:00, and Bentley will face the host school, Florida Southern, on Friday
night at 8:00.