NICEVILLE, Fl. — Tallahassee Community College's men's basketball team overcame a four-point halftime deficit and defeated Northwest Florida State College, 70-67, on Saturday evening.
With the win, Tallahassee (24-4, 8-2) maintained sole possession of first place in the Panhandle Conference standings and increased its lead over second-place and idle Gulf Coast State College (7-3) to one full game with two to play. Pensacola State College (6-4) prevented the Eagles from clinching a postseason berth when it beat Chipola College on Saturday evening, eliminating the Indians from postseason contention.
One thing was solidified with the victory. The Eagles are assured of playing beyond next Saturday's scheduled regular season finale at Gulf Coast State – as the PC's No. 1 or 2 seed at next month's state tournament or in either a two- or three-team playoff to determine a berth in the aforementioned tournament.
Despite its now 0-11 record in league play, Northwest Florida State gave the Eagles fits on Saturday. The Raiders led by eight early on and carried a 41-37 lead to the half.
Tallahassee took its first lead of the second half, 46-45, on a three by El Ellis with 16:15 left in the game. The Eagles eventually opened up an eight-point lead with 4:53 remaining and had a two possession lead inside the final 30 seconds.
After a basket by the Raiders cut the lead to three, Daivon Stephens missed the front end of a one-and-one, opening the door for the hosts. Following a timeout with 2.9 seconds left, Stephens deflected the inbounds pass, Eric Hester collected the ball and time ran out.
Tallahassee swept the Raiders for the first time since 2006 and has now won four in a row in the series for the first time since a five-game streak that extended from the 2005-07 seasons.
Tallahassee will host Pensacola State in its home finale at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday needing a win to lock up a postseason berth and a share of its first conference championship since 2006.