Eastern Florida Titans Utilize Strong Second Half To Top Indian River State 80-65
By Mark DeCotis, Eastern Florida // January 16, 2016
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Energized by sophomore B.J. Gladden’s tying three-pointer at the first half buzzer, Eastern Florida’s men’s basketball team outscored Indian River State 38-23 in the second half en route to an 80-65 victory on Saturday.
The victory at the Titan Field House of the Melbourne Campus improved three-time defending champion Eastern Florida to 4-0 in the FCSAA Southern Conference and 16-3 overall.
Indian River dropped to 3-1 and 12-5.
Indian River built an early 19-9 lead but the Titans rallied. The Pioneers maintained a slim advantage until sophomore Djordje Beronja’s basket gave the Titans their first lead of the game, 35-34, with 3 minutes and 12 seconds to play in the opening half.
Indian River pulled away again and led 42-39 until Gladden swished his three-pointer.
The second half was all Titans as Indian River led just once, 45-44 with 19:31 to go.
Baskets by Beronja, Gladden and freshman C.J. Jackson lifted Eastern Florida from a 49-47 lead to a 58-47 advantage with 13:56 to go. And while the Pioneers battled the Titans kept them at arm’s length for the remainder.
Jackson finished with 21 points, Gladden with 20 as freshman Austin Awad with 14 for this second straight strong effort.
“This is a new season when conference starts and we’ve just got to take care of each game one by one and get the wins.
“The second half we just came more together. We took each possession one by one and win each possession. Don’t look at it as a whole game. If we break it down like that we should be fine.”
Titans head coach Jeremy Shulman credited the victory to attention to detail.
“We were in the game at halftime because we made some shots. How you win is attention to detail defensively, rebounding, executing on offense, 50-50 balls. We didn’t do it first half.
“Second half I thought we really did. Indian River is outstanding. I’m just really proud of our guys and how we executed second half.”
As for Awad: “Austin’s been that extra spark we needed,” Shulman said. “He just has a non-stop motor. He also gives us a guy who can post, can shoot the three, we can rebound. He can defend. He gives us an extra dimension.”
Next up for Eastern Florida is a 7 p.m. Wednesday game at conference foe Miami Dade College in Kendall.