Hot Outside Shooting Not Enough to Carry PBA to Victory at Florida Tech

Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations

Senior Christian Martinez (Pictured, Right) Drained Seven Three-Pointers at Florida Tech and Finished with a Game-High 29 Points. Photo Courtesy of: Neil Hayes.Senior Christian Martinez (Pictured, Right) Drained Seven Three-Pointers at Florida Tech and Finished with a Game-High 29 Points. Photo Courtesy of: Neil Hayes.

Box Score

MELBOURNE, Fla.- A season-high 13 made three-pointers would keep the Sailfish men’s basketball team in position for a potential win on Wednesday evening but in the end a poor PBA free-throw shooting effort coupled with a strong inside presence by Florida Tech resulted in a Sailfish loss. The Panthers held off multiple PBA attempts at a late rally and held on for an 88-84 win over the ‘Fish at the Clemente Center.

The Sailfish (8-16) fired off 35 three-point attempts on the night and were successful on 13 of those tries, including seven long-balls by senior Christian Martinez, however a team-wide struggle at the charity stripe at 47.4-percent (9-19) would hold the ‘Fish back at a potential upset.

Utilizing a very contrasting style based on personnel, the Panthers (15-10) shook off a four-game losing streak as they outscored the Sailfish 52-32 inside the paint.

The ‘Fish entered halftime trailing only 44-43 thanks to their strong outside threat in particular 16 first-half points from junior Ronnell Ross and 13 points off the bench from Martinez. Ross was 6-of-9 in the first stanza including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc while Martinez was 5-of-8 from the field that included a 3-of-6 showing from downtown.

The Panthers countered however with a strong team shooting mark in the opening-half at 52.9-perecent (18-34) and were led by Jermaine Jackson’s 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field.

Things would remain in FIT’s favor until a 3-pointer from PBA junior guard Clayton Williams with 15:54 to play in the second-half as his shot from beyond the arc tied the game at 53-53.

Williams’ long-ball would turn out to be the closest the ‘Fish would get however as Florida Tech held on to single-digit leads for nearly the entire second-half and then despite their own mediocre performance at the free-throw line down the stretch were able to hold on for victory.

A pair of Akeem Johnson free-throws with three seconds left finally sealed the win for FIT as they moved ahead by four points with not enough time left on the clock for PBA to mount a game-winner.

Martinez put together his biggest scoring output of the season and missed his PBA career-high by just one points as he led all scorers with 29 points on the night. The Miami, Fla. native connected on 10-of-18 shots from the field, including 7-of-14 from beyond the arc, while also going 2-of-2 at the free-throw line.

Ross put together another strong outing as he poured in 23 points to go along with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks while going 9-of-16 on field-goals for the night. Evin Graham was the final PBA player in double-figures with 10 points as he played only 17 minutes due to foul trouble.

Florida Tech’s backcourt proved to be the difference as Jackson and Carter combined for 52 of the team’s 88 points as Jackson led the Panthers with 28 points while Carter posted 24 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

FIT big-man Corbin Jackson led all players with 14 rebounds and six blocks to go along with eight points in 33 minutes of court time.

Overall the Panthers outshot the Sailfish by knocking down 47.1-percent (33-70) of their shots in the contest while the ‘Fish finished at 39.2-percent (31-79). The two teams each grabbed 48 rebounds while PBA held the big advantage off the bench (31-24) thanks to Martinez’ big output.

Palm Beach Atlantic will host Florida Southern College on Saturday, Feb. 22nd at 7 pm for their next contest with just three games left on the schedule.  

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