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Eastern Florida Men Grab First Place With 67-56 Victory Over Broward
Feb. 5, 2014 - One word describes Eastern Florida's men's basketball victory over Broward College on Wednesday that moved the Titans into first place in the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference:
Despite making only three baskets from the floor in the final 14 minutes and 36 seconds of the game Eastern Florida clamped down defensively and sank nine free throws for a 67-56 victory.
Freshman Tyrek Coger, who led Eastern Florida with 16 points, 14 in the first half, scored on a layup with 14:36 to go for a 53-35 Titans lead. Freshman Landus Anderson, who finished with 12 points and four blocks, scored at 13:45 for a 55-36 lead but the Titans then went ice cold.
They did not convert another basket until Anderson sank a three-pointer from the right corner with 3:16 to go for a 62-51 lead.
That was Eastern Florida's final score from the floor but five subsequent free throws – and a tough defensive effort - were enough to hold off the Seahawks.
The victory moved Eastern Florida to 6-2 in the conference and 20-6 overall, giving it a one-game lead over Broward which fell to 5-3 and 17-7.
It also gave Eastern Florida the tiebreaker over Broward which it has now beaten twice. Conference teams play each other three times to determine the top two finishers who advance to the FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 postseason tournament.
The Titans host Indian River State at 2 p.m. Saturday in the third game of their series which stands at 1-1, travel to Lake Worth on Feb. 12 to play Palm Beach which they have beaten twice and finish their home season against Miami Dade, with whom they split two games, on Feb. 15.
And by the way, Wednesday's victory was Eastern Florida's 29th straight at home but that wasn't even mentioned after the mentally and physically draining game.
"I'm proud as heck of my guys defensively but we've got a long ways to go offensively," said Eastern Florida head coach Jeremy Shulman.
"We got the tiebreaker, it was a really important win for us, we've got a long ways to go and we've got to keep getting better. My hat goes off to our defense. I thought we guarded the heck out of the basketball. I thought we rotated. I thought it was the best defensive game we've played this year."
As for Anderson who also added several key rebounds to his effort: "He played his heart out," said Shulman. "He's just got to work on his decision making like a lot of freshmen do.
"The funny thing is, the way the game was going it's not a shot you would normally want. It was a great shot by him."
Shulman altered his offensive approach late going to a spread in an attempt to break through Broward's defense.
"I went to spread because they were really guarding us," he said. "We couldn't score inside with Ty (Coger) on the bench late in the game. Ty's still a freshman, I wanted to go with (sophomore) Mike (Kirkland) inside."
Kirkland finished with 10 points including five of six free throws.
"I wanted to just spread them out. We thought we could get to the rim, have a chance to get to the free throw line. It gave us some stuff late and helped win the game for us."
But in the end it came down to defense.
"Team defense, it's Seattle in the Super Bowl," Shulman said. "It was an absolute collective effort from one through 11 defensively. Even when we weren't doing what we needed to do offensively we did a fantastic job on the defensive end."
Freshman T.J. Cromer added 12 points for the Titans on four three-pointers. Sophomore Torrance Rowe and freshman Demetrius McReynolds added 10 points each. Freshman Jermohn Queen, who was disruptive defensively, finished with six points.
Eastern Florida led 43-27 at halftime.
Sophomore Dashawn Richardson led Broward with 14 points.