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Eagles rally past USC-Salk

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Posted at 10:01 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 00:31:45-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (TCC Athletics) — Tallahassee Community College’s men’s basketball team rallied for a 90-86 win over the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie in a Monday afternoon matinee at the Bill Hebrock Eagledome.

Tallahassee, who maintained its No. 1 ranking in the Region 8 Coaches’ Poll on Monday and was still playing as the nation’s second-ranked team, improved to 9-1 by winning its final non-conference game on the 2021 schedule.

Later on Monday afternoon, the Eagles slipped to No. 7 in the new NJCAA rankings, the result of Saturday’s 76-73 loss to Pensacola State College.

Playing its fifth game in ten days, Tallahassee faced a halftime deficit for the third straight game and erased a 12-point, second-half deficit to avoid the Indians’ upset bid.

In a script reminiscent of Saturday’s game, Tallahassee jumped out to a quick lead (7-0) only to watch Salkehatchie seize momentum for the middle portion of the game.

Out of a 24-all tie, the lead changed hands seven times before a 10-2 run gave Salkehatchie a 43-36 lead en route to a 45-40 advantage at the break. The Indians shot 63.6 percent (14-of-22) from the field in the second half and led by as many as 12 on three different occasions, the last following three free throws by Chris Nobles with 16:39 left in the game.

Tallahassee needed only six minutes to regain the lead. Jeremiah Kendall capped a 10-0 run with consecutive baskets – the first tied the game, the second put the Eagles in front, 65-63, with 10:40 remaining.

Salkehatchie didn’t go away, however, forcing ties at 66 and 73 before taking its final lead of the game, 75-73, at the 4:06 mark.

Kendall’s second-chance basket tied the game at 75 then Shawn Walker took over. His three-pointer and a pair of free throws finished a 7-0 run and gave the Eagles an 80-75 lead with 2:39 remaining. After Salkehatchie pulled within one, Kendall grabbed an offensive rebound and found Walker, who drained another three from the top of the key to extend the Eagles’ lead back to four.

Kendall hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to six, only to watch Salkehatchie pull within two twice in the final minute.

El Ellis hit five of six from the line in closing seconds to finally secure the victory. He finished with 15 points.

Kendall had 25 points and 16 rebounds, and Walker had 15.

Tallahassee will resume Panhandle Conference play on Saturday when it hosts Gulf Coast State College. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.