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Eastern Florida Men Subdue Miami Dade 86-72

Jan. 18, 2014 - Eastern Florida's men's basketball team won its 17th game of the season, its fifth in a row and its 27th straight at home on Saturday but not without a struggle, dispatching a stubborn Miami Dade College team 86-72.

Eastern Florida improved to 17-4 overall and 3-0 in the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference with the victory at the Melbourne Campus gym.

Miami Dade fell to 14-6 and 1-2 but gave Eastern Florida all it could handle.

Eastern Florida led by as many as 17 points - 28-11 – in the first half but Miami Dade fought back to trail by 39-30 at the break.

The visitors played much tougher over the first 10 minutes of the second half. While never leading they forced three ties – the final one 56-56 with 10 minutes and one second remaining. That's when Eastern Florida freshman center Tyrek Coger scored 10 of his team's 16 points over a stretch of 4 minutes and 31 seconds to help turn the 56-56 tie into a 73-64 lead.

Coger's baskets – four tough inside scores plus two free throws - were part of a 30-16 run that decided the game.

"That was a dogfight," said Eastern Florida head coach Jeremy Shulman. "That was a scrappy, talented, well-coached Miami Dade team. Our conference is so good. Every game is just a battle.

"Coming in I didn't feel great about this one. We've just had multiple high-level, high-energy games in a row. We might not be as prepared. We started the game off great but then we hit that lull that I was afraid we were going to hit. We were fortunate that we executed enough down the stretch to gut one out. This point in the year I'll take a win any way I can get it."

Coger finished with 10 points. Classmate Demetrius McReynolds finished with 17, 13 in the first half while sophomore Torrance Rowe finished with 16, 14 in the first half.

Sophomore Jure Gunjina also had a big hand in the outcome, finishing with 13 second–half points for a total of 15.

"We expected them to be good," Gunjina said. "We were prepared. They had a late run in the first half but we came back at the right time.

"We're just coachable. Coach has smart moves for us to do. We just listen to him. We're connected with each other."

Coger spoke to a similar theme.

"I just knew when coach called my name to be ready," he said. "I've been working on my rotations to get in the lineup. I'm just looking forward to getting better when I come into the game, to produce."

Continued team efforts will be imperative as Eastern Florida ends the season with nine straight conference games. First up is a visit to a much improved Broward College team at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Davie. That will be followed by a 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 re-match with Indian River State in Fort Pierce as the second of three trips through the conference begins.

The Titans return home on Monday, Jan. 27 for a re-match with Palm Beach State.

"It's going to be a heck of a game," Shulman said of the Broward match-up.