Titans Squeeze Out Tough 85-80 Victory to Advance in NJCAA National Championship Tournament

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Titans hit seven of eight free throws in FINAL minute, will face Barton who knocked off No.1 seed in OT

ABOVE VIDEO: Ahmed Ali drops off the pass to Silas Adheke as the Titans go up 36-35 early in the second half. (Video by Michael Parsons)

HUTCHINSON, KANSAS – Eastern Florida State College men’s basketball coach Jeremy Shulman called it a heavyweight title fight and it came down to the final minute, but the Titans pulled out the 85-80 to advance to the quarterfinals of the NJCAA National Championship Tournament.

With a minute left in the game, Trinity Valley Community College cut the lead to one, 76-75. But the Titans hit seven of eight free throws in the final 48 seconds to clinch the win and advance.

“I don’t know if I am speechless or I could talk for three hours about this one, maybe a combination of both,” Shulman said. “What a gutty effort against an unbelievable team.”

The game was tight throughout the first half with Trinity Valley leading for much of it but an Ahmed Ali 3-pointer with 8:53 left in the half gave the Titans the first lead since the first two minutes.

Trinity Valley would lead by one at the half and it remained tight until Nathanael Jack found his range, hitting three straight 3-pointers in a four-minute stretch to give the Titans an eight-point lead. Eastern Florida State College would extend it to as much as 10 but Trinity Valley would once again cut into the lead.

Silas Adheke made sure the Titans kept the lead with some big rebounds down the stretch and scored all 14 of his points in the second half as he did not miss a shot in the half.

ABOVE VIDEO: Eli Abaev with the strong put back as EFSC led, 26-23 with 7:29 in the first half.

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“I thought he started out the game a little bit out of his realm and I got on him pretty hard,” Shulman said. “He is one of the most coachable kids in the country and wow did he respond from a slow start to just being a monster out there.”

Adheke finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in the win.

Sophomore Michael Nuga led the Titans attack with 18 points and seven rebounds for the Titans who are now 28-4 on the season.

“We knew what we had to do to win the game today and we went out and executed and got the job done,” Nuga said.

Ali finished with 15 points, seven assists, and five rebounds while Ruot Monyyong had nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds off the bench for the No. 8 seed Titans.

Eastern Florida State College will move on to face No. 16 Barton Community College who knocked off No. 1 seed Indian Hills Community College 85-83 in overtime Tuesday afternoon.

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