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Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications

Office:  321-433-5700, 321-759-4540 (C)

BCC Men Pull Out a Tough One, Edging Broward College 70-68

January 26, 2013 - There were more sighs of relief than smiles among Brevard Community College's men's basketball team.

BCC let a seven-point first-half lead slip away, trailed by nine in the second half and rallied to take another seven-point lead only to see all but one precious point slip away before gutting out a 70-68 home court victory over gritty Broward College on Saturday.

Leading 69-68 and on defense an unlikely hero emerged for BCC in that 6-foot, 10-inch sophomore center Gary Gaskins is not the player to be expected to not only steal the ball but to dribble the length of the court.

Gaskins did just that, getting fouled in the process and sinking one of two free throws with 1.7 seconds to play for the final margin.

The victory improved BCC's overall record to 19-4 and 5-0 in the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference, setting up a first-place showdown at Palm Beach State in Lake Worth at 7 p.m. Monday.

Palm Beach State was 21-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference heading into Saturday's games. It's lone loss: 73-66 to BCC on Jan. 16.

But before BCC head coach Jeremy Shulman could think about Monday he had to recover from Saturday. Drenched in sweat and spent he admitted his team did what it had to do to defeat Broward which fell to 13-9 overall and 1-4 in the conference.

"At this point in the year you survive," Shulman said. "At this point in the year you take them as ugly as possible as long as you get that win."

The game also took its toll on sophomore co-captain Addison Spruill, who along with classmate and co-captain Nyles Evans has been the bellwether for BCC through this so-far remarkable season.

"That was ugly but we still pulled it out, that's what you've got to do down the stretch," a spent Spruill said while sitting on the bench.

"They just took control of the momentum but we had a couple of big buckets down the stretch and we got it back."

BCC trailed 49-40 with 12:43 to play but slowly fought its way back in and held a seven-point lead, 69-62, with 1:51 to play.

But Broward refused to wilt and got back to within one, 69-68 and had the ball with 21.3 seconds to play. BCC denied Broward a clear shot for the next 19 seconds before Gaskins stole the ball and sealed the game.

"I just knew I was in for defensive purposes and I knew I had to step it up," a smiling Gaskins said. "I knew I had 10-12 seconds to win the game so I just gave it my all. I knew I had to play the pass. I saw the pass, I just hedged on it and got the steal."

As for the free throw: "I'm not a really good free throw shooter," Gaskins said. "I'm about 54 percent. But when the game's on the line, you've got to do what you've got to do to win. I concentrated and I made it."

And if those efforts weren't enough, Gaskins also blocked nine Broward shots and finished with seven points. Spruill led BCC with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Freshman Juri Gunjina added 13 points while Evans and all-of-a-sudden hot freshman Jordan Smith had 12 points apiece.