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Eastern Florida Men Rally for Crucial Conference Victory

Feb. 12, 2014 - Eastern Florida's men's basketball team took a huge step toward defending its Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference title on Wednesday using a huge second half to defeat Palm Beach State 79-75 in an excruciating game in Lake Worth.

Eastern Florida trailed 43-30 at halftime but outscored the Panthers 49-32 in the final 20 minutes.

The victory improved Eastern Florida's first-place conference record to 8-2 with two games remaining and moved the Titans to 22-6 overall.

Eastern Florida plays its final home game of the season on Saturday, hosting conference foe Miami Dade College in the Melbourne Campus gym where it has won 30 straight games.

Tipoff for Sophomore Night is at 4 p.m. Admission is free.

The Titans wrap up the regular season at conference foe Broward College on Feb. 22.

But for now the focus is on Wednesday's remarkable comeback.

Freshman Jermohn Queen had his second straight big game for Eastern Florida, leading the team with 20 points. Sophomore Torrance Rowe added 17 for the Titans who beat the Panthers for the third time this season, twice in Lake Worth.

"The win was very important said Rowe," Eastern Florida's leading scorer. "It showed that when we stay positive and do what we are supposed to do it's very hard to beat us.

"And on top of that it put us in a great position to win conference."

Head coach Jeremy Shulman echoed Rowe's comments.

"I am so proud of my guys tonight," he said. "We dug ourselves a deep hole in the first half but responded in resounding fashion. It was a great come-from-behind win on the road against a great opponent."

Eastern Florida held Palm Beach to just nine points through the first 17 minutes and 29 seconds of the second half using a 33-9 run for a 63-52 lead. The Titans first lead of the second half was 53-52 with eight minutes to go.

But the Panthers then caught fire scoring 23 points in the final two minutes.

"They hit six three-pointers, they couldn't miss," Shulman said. The rally was helped by Palm Beach fouling on each Titans possession to extend the game down the stretch.

Fortunately Eastern Florida had a big enough lead to squelch the comeback.

As for the conference race, Miami Dade, which has split two games with the Titans this season, beat Indian River State 92-73 on Wednesday night to improve to 5-4. Second-place Broward College (6-3) had the night off.

Eastern Florida has beaten Broward twice and owns the tiebreaker should the two complete the conference season with identical records.

Conference teams play each other three times to determine the top two finishers who advance to the FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 postseason tournament.