BCC Titans Hold Off Palm Beach State In Overtime
By ED PIERCE, MANAGING EDITOR // February 14, 2013
Now Lead In Conference Tiebreaker
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – All hail the Titans.
Brevard Community College’s Nyles Evans hit a huge 3-point bomb with seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, then teammate Addison Spruill scored the first seven points of the bonus session to lead the Titans to a crucial 72-69 home victory over Palm Beach State Panthers in Melbourne on Wednesday night.
BCC (22-6) is now in line to claim the Florida College System Activities Association tiebreaker by improving to 8-2 in the conference. Palm Beach State is 26-2 and 8-2 in conference play and its only two losses this season have come at the hands of the Titans.
The conference champion earns an automatic bid to the FCSAA state tournament.
Playing before the biggest home crowd of the year, BCC avenged a 72-70 road defeat to Palm Beach State on Jan. 28.
“It’s an absolutely big win for this program, no question,” BCC coach Jeremy Shulman said after the game. “But this is not finished yet. We still have two conference games left against Miami –Dade and Broward and we haven’t forgotten that Broward beat us earlier this year, so anything is possible still to come.”
Playing an intense, fast-paced and physically draining game against Palm Beach State, the Titans rallied from a five-point halftime deficit on a 14-3 run to grab a 45-39 lead with 14:33 remaining.
That span saw BCC sink three-pointers from freshmen Ben Patrick and Jure Juringa.
But Palm Beach, ranked 8th is the latest National Junior College Athletic Association men’s basketball poll, surged ahead 50-49 with 7:37 left on a three-point jumper by Jonathan Holton.
The teams traded baskets in the final minutes, with the Panthers holding a 61-58 edge following a reverse layup by Kevin Thomas with 1:04 remaining in regulation.
BCC called a timeout and set up a three-point shot by Spruill, but it was off the mark. Palm Beach grabbed the rebound, but turned the ball back over to BCC with 25.8 seconds to play.
In overtime, Spruill came out guns blazing, hitting two pull-up jumpers and then finding nothing but net on a three-point shot with 3:19 to play in the extra session, giving BCC a 68-61 lead.
“That was really pivotal for us,” Shulman said. “He stepped up and made some huge plays for us in overtime.”
The Panthers roared back and cut BCC’s lead down to 70-69 with 1:57 remaining in overtime, but BCC sophomore Gary Gaskins connected on a short jump shot with 58.1 seconds to play and the Titans held off a Palm Beach flurry of desperation shots in the final seconds to win.
Spruill led BCC with 27 points and Juringa also had 11 for the Titans. Freshman Grant White led Palm Beach with 13.
For BCC to claim the conference title and receive an automatic bid to the FCSAA state tournament/NJCAA Region 8 tournament, the Titans must win out in their last two regular-season games.
BCC plays at Miami Dade College in Kendall at 2 p.m. Saturday and then closes the regular season at home Feb. 20 against Broward College.