Eagles hang on, knock off Chipola for second time

Photo courtesy of Phil Kelly
Photo courtesy of Phil Kelly

MARIANNA, Fla. (January 27, 2016) – NJCAA Region 8 No. 5 Tallahassee Community College picked up a thrilling 73-71 win over arch-rival Chipola College on Tuesday evening in men's basketball action.

Tallahassee improved to 5-2 in Panhandle Conference play with their 16th win of the season (16-9) and extended its lead over third-place Gulf Coast State College to a game and a half. The Commodores host conference leader Northwest Florida State College on Wednesday.

Chipola remains winless in PC play at 0-6.

Chipola's Eric Turner missed what would have been a game-winning three-pointer as the buzzer sounded. Up until the final shot, Tuesday night had an eerily similar feeling to Saturday's last-second loss at Pensacola State College.

The Pirates knocked in the game-winner in the closing seconds to down Tallahassee, 65-64, on Saturday.

On Tuesday, after the teams swapped baskets in the opening minute, Tallahassee went on a 14-2 run – keyed by a quartet of three-pointers – to lead 16-4 just over three minutes into the game. Chipola cut into the Eagles' lead momentarily but back-to-back three-pointers by Rashad Lewis put Tallahassee back in front 24-11 at the 12:30 mark of the first half.

That was the Eagles' largest lead the rest of the night as Chipola methodically climbed back into the game. An 8-0 run brought the Indians to within five and they scored the final four points of the half to force a 40-40 tie at the intermission.

The second half was a nip-and-tuck affair, featuring eight ties and neither team led by more than six points.

It wasn't until 10:50 remaining in the game that Chipola took its first lead of the night, 58-57, on a free throw by Antwain Johnson. Each time Chipola grabbed the lead, Tallahassee had an answer – primarily in the form of Jahvaughn Powell.

Powell, who led Tallahassee in scoring with 20 points, hit just 4-of-16 three-point attempts, but three of those came in the final ten-plus minutes of the game – and each one gave Tallahassee the lead.

He answered Chipola's first lead of the night to put Tallahassee back in front 60-58 at the midway point of the second half. He erased a two-point deficit with his second three-pointer then hit what proved to be the game-winning shot with under two minutes left.

Trailing 71-70, Powell knocked down a three-pointer with 1:41 remaining, to give the Eagles a two-point lead. 

The Eagles got a defensive stop but came up empty on two opportunities to pad their lead, giving the Indians the final possession and the chance to steal the victory.

Four other players joined Powell in double-figures - Lewis, David Simmons and Daishon Smith had 12 each while Deion Bute scored 11. 

Simmons also had 12 rebounds. 

Tallahassee will enjoy a bye on Saturday then host Northwest Florida State on Tuesday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m.