OCALA, Fla. (March 5, 2016) – Tallahassee Community College's run at a region and state championship fell just short on Saturday evening, falling to Northwest Florida State College, 81-76.
Northwest Florida State advances to the NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship in Hutchinson, Kan., while the Eagles' season likely comes to an end at 21-12.
The NJCAA will announce the four at-large berths to Hutch on Sunday, however, it is unlikely the Eagles will be able to secure a bid.
Tallahassee led 61-55 with 7:53 left and maintained a six-point lead after both teams swapped baskets.
In wins against Eastern Florida State College on Wednesday and Daytona State College on Friday, the Eagles closed strong in the game's final minutes. On Saturday, Northwest Florida State flipped the script.
A 13-0 run erased Tallahassee's lead and put the Eagles in a 70-63 hole with 4:30 left.
Tallahassee pulled within five, 73-68, with 3:30 left but entered the final two minutes staring at an eight-point deficit.
A three-pointer by David Simmons brought the Eagles within three, 79-76, with 15 seconds left, but the Raiders knocked down a pair of free throws to seal the victory.
Rashad Lewis, who shot 6-of-12 from long distance, led Tallahassee with 20 points and set a tournament record with 17 three-pointers, breaking a record that had stood since 1991.
Lewis was named to the all-tournament team, along with Deion Bute, who had 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
Daishon Smith scored 15 and had nine rebounds, six assists and four steals. Simmons scored 14 and also dished out six assists.
Tallahassee was credited with a postseason record 23 assists on Saturday.
Northwest Florida State led 38-34 at the half.