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Palm Beach State Next Up for Eastern Florida Men's Basketball as it Seeks Conference Title

Feb. 11, 2014 - Same challenge, different season. That's the story for Eastern Florida State's men's basketball team.

Last season EFSC (then Brevard Community College) was on the verge of its first Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference championship since 2001 and had to win its final four games to secure the title.

This season EFSC is on the verge of repeating as conference champion but must win its three remaining games.

The stretch begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at always rugged Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, one of the toughest places to play in Florida.

It continues at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Melbourne Campus gym where Eastern Florida (21-6) has won 30 consecutive games and concludes at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 at Broward College in Davie.

At 6-3 Broward is the closest team to Eastern Florida (7-2) in the conference standings. The Titans have beaten Broward twice assuring themselves of a tiebreaker should the teams finish with identical conference records.

Miami (4-4) has split two games with the Titans and has four conference games remaining. The Titans have beaten Palm Beach (4-5) and Indian River State (1-8) twice each.

Miami plays at Indian River on Wednesday, visits Eastern Florida and closes by hosting Broward on Feb. 19 and Palm Beach on Feb. 22.

Broward plays at Indian River on Saturday and at Miami Dade on Feb. 19 before hosting the Titans.

Conference teams play each other three times to determine the first- and second-place finishers that qualify for the FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 postseason tournament.

That Eastern Florida beat Palm Beach 82-73 on Jan. 15 in Lake Worth and 68-58 on Jan. 22 in Melbourne doesn't give Titans head coach Jeremy Shulman any sense of security.

"It's always difficult playing a team for the third time, especially again on the road, which is the case Wednesday at rival Palm Beach," Shulman said. "They are an outstanding team, and though we have won the first two games, we know we have to be even better to come out with a win on Wednesday."

Sophomore guard Torrance Rowe continues to lead Eastern Florida in scoring averaging 13.5 points per game. He's followed by freshman forward Demetrius McReynolds at 12.5. Sophomore Mike Kirkland leads in rebounding with 7.2 per game while classmate Ben Patrick leads in assists with 5.7 and freshman Jermohn Queen leads in steals at 1.6.

Eastern Florida is ranked fourth in the state in the FCSAA Coaches Poll. Northwest Florida (21-4) leads the poll. Daytona State (21-4), which split two games with Eastern Florida, is second and Chipola (19-5), which beat Eastern Florida 99-93 on Dec. 14, is third.

Broward is the only other Southern Conference team in the FCSAA top 10, ranking seventh.

Eastern Florida also is ranked 36th in the nation in the Massey Computer Ratings for NJCAA Division I colleges.