Eagle men hold off FSCJ to win season opener

Kailex Stephens throws down a two-handed slam (photo courtesy of Greg Rowland)
Kailex Stephens throws down a two-handed slam (photo courtesy of Greg Rowland)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 2, 2019) – Tallahassee Community College's men's basketball team avoided Florida State College at Jacksonville's upset bid and came away with a 76-70 win on Saturday afternoon in its 2019-20 season opener. 

The game proved to be a successful debut for Zach Settembre, who was coaching his first game as the Eagles' full-time head coach. He led the team in an interim role for the final ten games of the 2018-19 season. Despite the win, Settembre had a very simple message after the game. 

"We're happy, we're 1-0, but we've got to get a lot better," he said. 

On an opening weekend that saw numerous nationally-ranked teams fall, Tallahassee found itself in a dogfight for much of the afternoon, save a couple of spurts that yielded double-digit leads. 

The Eagles closed the first half on an 18-6 run to lead 38-25 at the intermission and used a 14-5 spurt to grab a 64-50 lead with 5:51 left in the game following a pair of free throws from Rifen Miguel

A three-pointer by Miguel gave the Eagles a 70-57 lead with four minutes remaining but FSCJ scored the next nine points to make things interesting. With the lead down to four, Miguel scored in the paint to extend the margin to six with 55 seconds remaining. Following a defensive stop, Daivon Stephens hit a pair of free throws to all but seal the win. 

Miguel finished with 15 points and seven rebounds for Tallahassee. Tariq Silver led the Eagles with 16 points. DeAndre Gholston added 13, and Eric Hester came off the bench to score 10. 

The Eagles will return to play at 4 p.m. Friday in Marianna, Fla., against Enterprise (Ala.) State Community College in the Panhandle Classic.