MARIANNA, Fla. (January 14, 2017) – Tallahassee Community College's men's basketball team trailed most of the night before pulling out a 74-73 win at Chipola College on Saturday evening.
With the win, the Eagles, 20-1 overall and 3-0 in Panhandle Conference play, will likely regain the No. 1 ranking in Region 8, thanks to a loss by top-ranked Eastern Florida State College last Tuesday.
Chipola (16-4), who has dropped its first two PC games, led for the first 53-plus minutes on Saturday and carried the advantage into the final 30 seconds before Kiair Crouch drove into the paint and scored to put Tallahassee in front, 72-71, with 27 seconds left.
Following a defensive stop, the game came down to free throws, where Tallahassee shot just 32-of-52 for the game. Leon Freeman-Daniels, however, hit the biggest two of the night to extend the Eagles' led to three.
Chipola missed a three-pointer on its ensuing possession, but David Simmons missed both free throw attempts and a chance to ice the game in the final five seconds. Following the second miss, Freeman-Daniels wisely fouled the Indians' Taevon Ashmeade in the backcourt before he could get in position for a potential game-tying three.
Ashmeade made both free throws and the Eagles ran out the clock on the inbounds to clinch their fourth straight win against Chipola.
Crouch finished with 23 points for Tallahassee. Freeman-Daniels, who was 9-of-12 at the foul line, finished with 14 and Simmons, 11.
Tallahassee faced an uphill battle right out of the gate, falling behind 9-0 just two minutes into the game. After pulling within a basket, the Eagles watched Chipola go on a 10-1 run, ending with Jashire Hardnett's field goal, and take a 21-11 lead at the midway point of the first half.
The Eagles answered with an 11-1 spurt to get within a point, 23-22, at the 6:03 mark and eventually went to the locker room trailing 34-31.
In the second half, Tallahassee got within one possession on four different occasions, only to see Chipola answer with a three-point basket. Finally, six unanswered points, the last on a pair of free throws by Simmons, put the Eagles in front 58-57 with 6:24 remaining – their first lead of the game.
The next six minutes eight lead changes and six ties, including one at 69-all, courtesy of a three-pointer by Crouch with 1:44 left. After Chipola went back in front by two, Simmons hit one of two at the line, and the Eagles forced a five-second violation to regain possession and set up what proved to be the game-winning basket by Crouch.
Tallahassee will return to play next Saturday when it hosts Northwest Florida State College at 7:30 p.m.