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Contact: Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications
Men's Basketball Awaits Wednesday's Crucial Conference Opener
Jan. 6, 2014 - It's game face time for Eastern Florida State College's men's basketball team.
After amassing a 13-4 non-conference record the Titans embark on the portion of their schedule that really matters — the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference campaign.
Things get started for the defending champion Titans as arch-rival Indian River State College comes calling at 7 p.m. Wednesday. And save for a 4 p.m. Saturday non-conference home re-match with 16-2 and nationally 22nd-ranked Daytona State College, Eastern Florida's remaining games will determine whether it qualifies again for the postseason.
Admission to Eastern Florida home games in the Melbourne Campus gym is free.
Eastern Florida defeated Indian River State three times last season en route to the FCSAA state tournament but Titans head coach Jeremy Shulman knows that will have no bearing this season. After all the Southern Conference has a collective non-conference record of 61-20, the second-best in Florida to the 66-20 mark of the Panhandle Conference. Indian River is 12-3, Miami Dade College is 13-4, Broward College is 12-5 and Palm Beach State 11-5.
"Our second season begins Wednesday, an exciting time of year," Shulman said. "It's conference season now. And the Southern Conference this year is as deep and talented as it's ever been, and it shows with non-conference results.
"There is no easy game on the schedule, and we have to be ready to play our absolute best basketball night in, night out. All of our hard work up to this point has prepared us, and now we eagerly welcome an exciting conference season."
David Johnson III, a 6-foot, 6-inch sophomore forward, leads Indian River State in scoring, averaging 21 points per game. He also has grabbed 69 offensive rebounds, good for sixth nationally. Johnson also leads the team with 8.5 rebounds per game. He has plenty of offensive support with sophomore guard Isaac Torres averaging 13.4 points per game, freshman guard Shelvick Henry averaging 12.4 and freshman forward Bradley Christian 10.4.
Freshman guard Desmond Mitchell leads Indian River in assists, averaging 4.6 per game.
As a team Indian River is ranked 13th nationally in field goal percentage at 52.2 percent and 12th in three-point percentage at 39.9.
Demetrius McReynolds, a 6-2 freshman forward from Louisville, KY and Butler High, leads Eastern Florida in scoring at 13.9 points per game and is one of five Titans in double figures, the others being sophomore Torrance Rowe at 12.3; sophomore Shaheed Davis at 11.7; sophomore Jure Gunjina at 11.3 and freshman T.J. Cromer at 10.8. Sophomore Mike Kirkland is averaging 9.9 per game.
Kirkland leads in rebounding at 7.4 per game and sophomore Ben Patrick in assists at 5.9 per game.
Shulman will look to those seven plus freshman Jermohn Queen who continues to progress and scored a combined 51 points as Eastern Florida split two games in the Jan. 3-4 Pasco-Hernando Community College Classic. Also playing key roles off the bench are freshmen Tyrek Coger, Landus Anderson and Cam Scott and sophomores Julius Adams and Damion Smith.
"It will take a total team effort for us to be successful," Shulman said. "Everyone has to come ready for every drill in every practice and ready for every possession in every game.
"Our conference season is going to be one for the books. Hopefully we don't beat each other up to the extent that the winner has nothing left for the state tournament."