TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 6, 2020) – NJCAA No. 15/Region 8 No. 3 Tallahassee Community College rode a dominating offensive effort to knock off No. 12/No. 2 Gulf Coast State College, 89-71, on Wednesday evening.
By winning, Tallahassee (22-4) pulled even with Gulf Coast State (19-5) in the Panhandle Conference standings. Both teams are 6-2 with four games remaining. Perhaps, more importantly, the victory created a two-game lead over Chipola College and Pensacola State College, who are tied for third at 4-4. Only the top two teams will advance to next month's NJCAA District/FCSAA State Tournament in Niceville, Fla., and be eligible for at-large consideration to the NJCAA Tournament.
Tallahassee and Gulf Coast State played a thriller on January 18, a game won by the Commodores, 75-73. Although Gulf Coast State never led, Wednesday's showdown was unfolding with just as much drama until the game's final 10 minutes.
Leading 58-56, Tallahassee scored five straight points before a play on the defensive end kicked things into high gear. Daivon Stephens deflected a pass into the backcourt, where he outran the 'Dores Devonta Cook and outmuscled him to get the lay-in and the foul. Stephens converted the three-point play and scored again on the Eagles' next possession to finish a 10-0 run for a 68-56 lead with 8:16 left in the game.
After Gulf Coast State scored the next two baskets to get within eight (68-60), the Eagles went on a 16-4 run to blow the game wide open. DeAndre Gholston's free throw gave Tallahassee an 84-64 lead with 1:50 remaining.
Tallahassee made 10 of its final 12 shots to finish 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) overall in the second half and 6-of-11 from three. The Eagles shot 58.0 percent (29-of-50) for the game.
Kailex Stephens pulled down 11 rebounds.
The Eagles had a 10-0 run in the first half that resulted in a 25-13 lead at the 9:30 mark, but the Commodores had an answer.
Travon Mayo hit a pair of threes during a 16-6 surge that brought Gulf Coast State with two points, 31-29, with 4:06 left in the half.
Tallahassee led 41-38 at the intermission.
The Eagles will host Chipola in another critical game on Saturday. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.