WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2014
Panthers End Four-Game Losing Skid Behind Lineup Change
MELBOURNE, Fla. (Men’s Basketball) – Isaac Spence dove to the ground and forced a possession change with 28.9 seconds remaining. All that the Panthers needed to do was connect on their free throws. Florida Tech (15-10) did just that, hitting 6-of-8 from the charity stripe in the closing seconds to end a four game losing skid and defeat Palm Beach Atlantic University (8-16), 88-84, on Wednesday evening at the Clemente Center.
With the victory, the Panthers swept the regular season series from the Sailfish for the third consecutive season. Jermaine Jackson and Chris Carter shined offensively, scoring 28 points and 24 points, respectively. FIT outscored PBA 52-32 in the paint to offset the hot outside shooting of Palm Beach Atlantic, led by Christian Martinez’s 21 points from three-point range. Spence finished with nine points and four rebounds, Corbin Jackson added eight points, 14 rebounds and six blocks and Robert Booth scored six points and pulled down seven boards.
Spence was starting his first game as a Panther and Booth was in the starting rotation for the fourth time this season.
With 3.2 seconds remaining and FIT leading 86-82, a foul was called in the act of shooting on the Panthers, giving the Sailfish the opportunity to cut their deficit to one. Martinez connected on the first two and intentionally missed the third but a lane violation was called, preserving Florida Tech’s two-point lead and giving the Crimson and Gray the ball. Akeem Johnson was fouled and drained two huge free throws to seal the victory for FIT.
Florida Tech led by as much as 13 but the Panthers went into the half leading by just one, 44-43 as the Sailfish cut into their double digit deficit by shooting 37 percent from three-point range, led by Martinez’s 13 points off of the bench, nine coming from behind-the-arc. Ronnell Ross scored PBA’s first 10 points of the game and ended the half with a game-high 16 points. For FIT, Jermaine Jackson was 7-of-13 from the field for 15 points, Spence added eight points and three rebounds, Booth was 3-of-3 for six points and six rebounds and Corbin Jackson scored six points to go with his eight rebounds and three blocks.
Martinez led all scorers with 29 points off of the Sailfish bench and Ross added 23 points, seven rebounds and three steals. PBA shot 37.1 percent from long distance but just 47 percent from the free throw line.
FIT heads to Eckerd College on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. and Nova Southeastern University on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. before closing out the regular season at home against Barry University on Saturday, March 1 at 4 p.m.