Tallahassee Community College’s men’s basketball team withstood a furious second-half rally from Gulf Coast State College and defeated the Commodores, 80-71, in Panhandle Conference action on Tuesday.
Tallahassee, who earlier in the day jumped six spots to No. 13 in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Poll, improved to 24-4 overall and 7-3 in league play. The win clinched no worse than a second-place tie in the PC, and the Eagles will head to Chipola College on Saturday with an opportunity to lock up a postseason berth.
Tallahassee dominated the first half on both ends to the tune of a 43-22 halftime lead, but Gulf Coast State got right back in the game, scoring the first eight points of the second half. After Tallahassee extended the lead back to 14, Gulf Coast State went on a 10-0 run to pull within seven (47-40) with 13:50 left in the game.
Just when the Eagles seemed to regain control, leading 64-50, the Commodores answered again, going on a 12-1 run and trailed 65-62 with 4:42 left.
Gulf Coast State didn’t score for the next three minutes while Tallahassee converted five free throws to extend its lead to eight, effectively sealing the game.
The Eagles made only two field goals over the final eight minutes but clinched the game at the foul line, hitting 25-of-34 attempts in the second half.
Five players scored in double-figures for Tallahassee, led by Kiair Crouch with 21. Jeremy Hayes, playing in just his second game since November 30, came off the bench to score 14 and was 8-of-8 from the foul line.
David Simmons scored 12 while Leon Freeman-Daniels and Jacob Winston had 11 points each.
Freeman-Daniels added 11 rebounds for the double-double while Deion Bute had 11 rebounds and narrowly missed a double-double with nine points.
Tallahassee opened the game on a 9-0 run, courtesy of two three-pointers from Winston and one from Crouch. The lead hit double-figures less than seven minutes in.
Saturday’s game at Chipola is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. eastern.
Tallahassee Community College’s women’s basketball team fell to Gulf Coast State College on Tuesday evening, 92-82, in Panhandle Conference action.
By losing, Tallahassee (21-5) missed an opportunity to pull into a first-place tie with Gulf Coast State in the league standings. The Eagles are now 6-4 in PC play while Gulf Coast State (25-2) took a big step towards winning the conference championship, improving to 8-2.
Tallahassee now sits in third place in the PC, one half game behind idle Chipola College (6-3) heading into Saturday’s crucial showdown with the Indians in Marianna.
All three teams are in the top eight nationally. On Tuesday, the Eagles climbed one spot to No. 8, right behind the seventh-ranked Indians. Gulf Coast State dropped from the top spot to No. 3 after losing to Chipola on Saturday.
All three are in contention for a berth to the NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA State Tournament and possibly the national tournament in Lubbock, Texas, in March.
Tallahassee jumped out to a 17-6 lead but the Commodores used an impressive three-point barrage to fight their way back. The Eagles led 28-23 after one quarter but watched Gulf Coast State win the second quarter, 27-20, and lead at the half, 50-48.
Neither team led by more than three points during the third quarter and Rosanna Jenije’s basket with 40 seconds left in the quarter sent the game to the final 10 minutes tied at 65.
Tallahassee has made a habit of closing out teams in the fourth quarter during the season but on Tuesday it was Gulf Coast State who won the quarter, 27-17.
Down 12 with three minutes left, Tallahassee made a last gasp effort at the win. A three-pointer by Jas Hill and a three-point play from Japonica James cut the deficit in half with two minutes left. The Eagles got it back to six on the last of Lawriell Wilson’s 31 points with 1:15 left, but they never got any closer.
Wilson had 17 points in the first quarter and 23 at the half, but scored only eight after the intermission and just two in the fourth quarter. Hill, Lindsay John and Janessa Murphy had 11 points each.
Three players – Shayla Bennett (5-of-8, 27 points), Taylor Emery (4-of-6, 25 points) and Maria Castro (4-of-7, 13 points) – combined to shoot 13-of-21 from long distance and scored 65 of the team’s 92 points.
Tallahassee and Chipola will tip off at 6:30 p.m. eastern on Saturday.