ORLANDO, Fla. (Men’s Basketball) – It was a three-point game with 13:52 left in the game, but the Florida Tech Panthers never relinquished
the lead and came away with a 78-61 win over the University of Puerto Rico-Bayamon Sunday afternoon. The Panthers pushed their record to a perfect 3-0 with
the victory in Orlando’s Amway Arena. Tech had its starters in for the majority of the game, though it was junior guard Ran Ballard
who came off the bench and drained a trey with 10:15 to go in the second half to stretch the Panthers’ lead to 10 at 58-48. Florida Tech had a 10-point
lead once more in the half before UPRB inched their way back in, cutting the deficit to five on a three-pointer from Michael Gonzalez at 6:11.
That’s as close as the visitors would get, however, as the Panthers turned on the afterburners and closed the game on a 14-2 run to seal the win.
The first half featured scoring spurts by both teams. With the game at 10-9 in favor of the Panthers at 14:11, Tech put together a 22-3 run to swell the
team’s lead to 20 points with just over eight minutes to go in the half. UPR-Bayamon, however, had the energy to cap off the first period on a 13-3 run of
its own. Florida Tech took a 35-25 lead into the break. Bayamon’s stingy defense held the Panthers’ shooting to a 39.3 percent effort, but Tech held
a commanding 53-34 edge in rebounding in the win, thanks in large part to sophomore Justin Sedlak who finished with a game- and
season-high 17 boards, adding a game-best 22 points. Jod Kelley also had a strong game for the Panthers with 14 points, eight rebounds and
two blocks. Gonzalez led UPRB with 16 points and six assists, while teammate Bryan Morales had 10 points. The visitors had a good night at the line,
making 11-of-14 freebies.
Next up for the Panthers is UPR-Mayaguez in the Clemente Center Tuesday. The men have the nightcap at 7:30 p.m., and the Florida Tech women face the same
team, tipping off at 5:30 p.m.