#TCCBasketball: Eagle men cap first half with No. 1 ranking

Richard Washington
Richard Washington is in the top five in Region 8 in both scoring and rebounding (Photo courtesy of Greg Rowland)

NJCAA Polls: Men | Women
Region 8 Coaches Polls: Men | Women

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (December 20, 2018) – The first half of Tallahassee Community College's basketball season is in the books. To be more specific, the record books. 

The Eagle men and women have been rewriting school history at a dizzying pace since the season tipped off November 2. Both squads reached the holiday break with unblemished records for the first time ever and have matching 15-0 records. The release of Tuesday's Region 8 & NJCAA polls further solidified just how strong both teams have played through the season's first two months.

After pulling into a tie atop last week's Region 8 Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll, Mark White's Eagles seized sole possession of the No. 1 ranking on Tuesday. Tallahassee, the last remaining unbeaten in Region 8, received 12 of the 19 first-place votes and 182 total points to push Northwest Florida State College (seven first-place votes, 175 points) out of the tie and to No. 2. 

Tallahassee also improved its ranking nationally, climbing one spot to No. 4 in the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Poll. The Eagles, who are sandwiched between No. 3 Northwest Florida State and No. 5 Florida SouthWestern State College, are one of six Region 8 schools in the top 25. 

The Eagles are 15-0 for the first time since the 2000-01 season when they eventually started 24-0, also the last time they had a winning streak of 15 games. 

Among Tallahassee's wins is a 133-57 blowout of Combine (Ga.) Academy on November 26, which established new school records for points in a regulation game and margin of victory. 

Two nights later, sophomore guard Richard Washington put his name in the record books with 45 points and 10 three-pointers against Andrew (Ga.) College. 

And the Eagles aren't just winning, they're dominating, currently outscoring opponents by an average of 32.7 points per game. But as lights-out as the men have been, the women have been even more unstoppable. 

Franqua "Q" Bedell's defending national champion women's team picked up where they left off in Lubbock, Texas, in March. Through 15 games, the Eagles are second nationally in scoring offense at 98.9 points per game and winning by an average of 41.8 points. Saturday's 85-71 win at St. Petersburg College was one of only two games decided by fewer than 26 points thus far. 

Points have come in bunches for Tallahassee, who had a streak of six straight 100-point games earlier in the season and has hit the century mark 10 times, both school records. 

The women's 15-0 record matches last season's start for the best in school history. Combined with the five straight wins at last season's national tournament, the Eagles have won a school-record 20 straight games and are 25-1 over their last 26 games overall. 

Tallahassee's standing in both polls remained unchanged on Tuesday – No. 2 in the Region 8 Women's Basketball Coaches' Poll, No. 3 in the NJCAA Division I Women's Basketball Poll. 

By virtue of the men's No. 4 ranking, this week marks the Eagles' highest simultaneous rankings in school history, ones they will carry into the start of Panhandle Conference play next month. 

Prior to Gulf Coast State College's visit on January 5, however, both teams will have the opportunity to build upon their already-impressive resumes. 

The Eagle women will leave for Washington, D.C., on Christmas Day to participate in the prestigious Title IX Holiday Invitational, December 27-29 at the historic D.C. Armory. Tallahassee opens the eight-team tournament against Frederick (Md.) Community College and could potentially run into nationally-ranked Harford (Md.) Community College in the championship game. 

Meanwhile, the Eagle men will close non-conference play on December 28 and 29 by hosting the Tallahassee Democrat Holiday Classic. Tallahassee will play Jones County (Miss.) Junior College at 7:30 p.m., December 28 and Monroe (N.Y.) College at 2 p.m., December 29.