Eagles, White set for home opener vs. Hillsborough

Eagles, White set for home opener vs. Hillsborough

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 4, 2015) – After opening its season with a pair of road games, NJCAA Region 8 No. 4 Tallahassee Community College will take the floor at the Bill Hebrock Eagledome for its home opener at 7 p.m. Thursday evening against Hillsborough Community College.

The game will also be the first home contest for new head coach Mark White.

White and the Eagles had, arguably, the toughest opening weekend of any team in the country, playing a pair of nationally-ranked opponents at the Quality Inn Classic hosted by Northwest Florida State College.

In the season opener vs. NJCAA No. 13 Southwest Tennessee Community College, Tallahassee delivered a record-breaking performance in a 64-26 victory. Thanks to a defensive effort that held the Saluqis to just six second half points, the Eagles set a school record for fewest points allowed in a game.

The next night against No. 10 Georgia Highlands College, Tallahassee raced out to a 15-point, first-half lead and still led 48-37 at the half. But the Chargers rallied in the second half and picked up an 83-76 win.

Still, a 1-1 record topped White's start at his previous stop, East Mississippi Community College, where he began his career 0-2 and jokingly said, "things turned out pretty well (there)."

In eight seasons as head coach at the school located in tiny Scooba, Miss., White transformed the Lions from a struggling team to the premiere program in the state of Mississippi. He compiled a 161-66 record and four straight appearances in the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, courtesy of four consecutive NJCAA Region 23 titles (2010-13).

Hillsborough brings a 1-0 record into Thursday's meeting, having defeated Impact Basketball Academy, 104-38, on Monday.

Thursday also kicks off a three-game homestand for the Eagles – their only home games until December 15. Tallahassee will host St. Petersburg College at 2 p.m. Saturday and TAAG Academy at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Prior to Thursday's game, the TCC Foundation will host a Tip-off Tailgate Party in conjunction with Sunshine Savings Bank, Halftime Pie Pub and Refreshment Services Pepsi. As part of a service learning activity, students from TCC's College Success classes will also be present to raise awareness for the Kidz1stFund.

The pregame tailgate party begins at 6 p.m. outside the west entrance to the Bill Hebrock Eagledome.

Tallahassee-Hillsborough Game Notes

  • Tallahassee leads the all-time series, 6-2, and is 3-0 in games played at the Bill Hebrock Eagledome
  • The last meeting between the teams was December 31, 2014, in Tallahassee - a game the Eagles won, 89-69
  • The 26 points allowed vs. Southwest Tennessee bested the previous record of 38 points allowed vs. North Florida Community College on November 28, 2006, and the 64-26 win was also the Eagles' largest-ever margin of victory over a nationally-ranked opponent
  • Thursday is Mark White's first home game as head coach of the Eagles, but it won't be the first game he's coached in the Bill Hebrock Eagledome. Each of the past two seasons, he brought East Mississippi Community College to the Eagles' post-Christmas Holiday Classic. Combined, his East Mississippi teams went 2-2, including a 79-70 win over Tallahassee in 2013. 
  • Tallahassee is 22-2 in home openers - its only defeats coming in 1991 and 2012. 
  • The Eagles are 5-2 all-time on November 5
  • How have the Eagles' head coaches fared in their home debuts? Mike Gillespie lost to Wallace-Dothan in 1991, a team coached by Eddie Barnes, who succeeded Gillespie 10 years later. Barnes knocked off his former team in his first home game in 2001.