OCALA, Fla. (March 9, 2018) – Tallahassee Community College’s run at a state championship ended on Friday evening with a 68-57 loss to Eastern Florida State College in the semifinals of the NJCAA District/FCSAA State Basketball Tournament.
A win would have all but sewn up a berth to the NJCAA Tournament for the Eagles (24-6), who are ranked seventh nationally. Now, Tallahassee will anxiously await the release of the 24-team bracket on NJCAA Selection Monday (Monday, 11 a.m. on NJCAA TV).
Eastern Florida State (24-6), meanwhile, advances to Saturday’s championship game against Gulf Coast State College.
The Titans crashed what would have been an all Panhandle Conference final behind to a flurry of three-pointers in the first half. After knocking down a tournament record 16 in Thursday’s quarterfinal win over Miami Dade College, Eastern Florida State hit eight more (in 19 attempts) during the first 20 minutes on Friday night.
Tallahassee scored the game’s first five points, but Eastern Florida State went on a 16-4 run and led 16-9 after the first quarter. The Titans outscored Tallahassee 21-10 in the second quarter to put the Eagles in an 18-point hole (37-19) at the half.
The deficit proved to be too much for the Eagles, despite a gallant effort in the second half.
Tallahassee outscored the Eastern Florida State, 38-31, after the intermission but couldn’t get any closer than eight points in the closing minutes of the game.
Japonica James had a double-double for Tallahassee, posting 12 points and 13 rebounds. Nakiah Black led the Eagles with 15 points.