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Florida Tech pulls away to beat Eckerd

Dwight Walton and Davon Kelly combined for 47 points as the Florida Tech captured a key Sunshine State Conference victory, 88-81, over the Eckerd Tritons at the McArthur Center Wednesday night. FIT, ranked 11th in NCAA Division II, pulled away from the Tritons with a 17-8 spurt early in the second half that gave the Panthers an 11-point advantage that Eckerd couldn't overcome.

Eckerd fell behind by 10 points in the first half before forging a 36-36 tie with 2:27 left. The teams traded baskets until Kelly, who scored 23 points, made two free throws with 47 seconds left that gave the Panthers a 42-40 halftime edge.

FIT stretched that advantage to 81-67 behind the inside scoring of Astley Smith (14 points) and three-point goals by Kelly and Chris Rose, before Eckerd made a late surge to close within seven points.

Walton scored 24 points and gathered in 12 rebounds to outduel Perry, who scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds despite the Panthers double-teaming defense.

"They certainly outplayed us in every department," said Eckerd coach Jim Harley. "They've added an outside game to their already strong inside game. We had a very poor teamwork game."