#TCCBasketball: Eagle men win, close in on second in PC

Interim head coach Zach Settembre gives instructions during a timeout (photo courtesy of Michael Schwarz)
Interim head coach Zach Settembre gives instructions during a timeout (photo courtesy of Michael Schwarz)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 9, 2019) – NJCAA No. 18/Region 8 No. 4 Tallahassee Community College never trailed on Saturday and defeated Gulf Coast State College, 71-56, to complete a season sweep of the Commodores. 

Tallahassee (21-5) improved to 5-4 in Panhandle Conference play and moved within a half game of idle Chipola College (5-3) for second place in the league standings. Those two teams will meet in Marianna on Wednesday in a game that will go a long way in determining the PC's second postseason berth. 

Northwest Florida State College wrapped up the conference championship on Saturday with its win over Pensacola State College. 

The Eagles scored the first six points of the game on Saturday and increased their lead to double-digits (13-3) less than six minutes in. Gulf Coast State got within five, 17-12, on Reggie Rivera's basket at the 9:35 mark but that's as close as they got the rest of the game. 

Gulf Coast State outrebounded Tallahassee, 49-34, including 23-8 on the offensive glass, but those numbers were undermined by the Eagles' field goal defense, particularly in the first half. 

The Commodores made just 7-of-34 shots in the first 20 minutes – and only 1-of-11 three-point attempts – and trailed 34-21 at the half. 

Tallahassee maintained a double-digit advantage until an 8-1 run by the Commodores midway through the second half trimmed the lead to 53-47 at the 7:57 mark. 

On the Eagles' ensuing possession, Richard Washington was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit all three free throws. Mustafa Lawrence then hit his sixth three-pointer of the night and Washington added another bucket to complete an 8-0 run and extend Tallahassee's lead back to 14 (61-47). 

The Eagles' defensive effort aided the run, holding Gulf Coast State without a field goal for more than five minutes and limiting the Commodores to just 2-of-11 shooting over the final 8:51. 

Gulf Coast State also hit just 13-of-29 free throws while Tallahassee converted on 19-of-24 from the charity stripe. 

Lawrence led four players in double-figures for the Eagles with 18. Deven Palmer finished with 15. Washington and Salisu Yahaya had 10 points each. 

Tallahassee and Chipola will tip off at 8:30 p.m. eastern on Wednesday.