Eastern Florida State Titans Look To Stay On A Roll Today
By Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications // January 7, 2015
Four basketball winning streaks will collide
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Four basketball winning streaks will collide on Wednesday and only two will survive.
Eastern Florida’s men, who are 17-1 and on a 13-game winning streak, open Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference play at 7 p.m. at Indian River State which is 9-6 and winners of three straight.
Eastern Florida’s women, 10-5 and winners of three straight games and all five home games this season, play their second conference game at 5:30 p.m. in the Melbourne campus gym hosting St. Petersburg College which is 7-8 and winners of two straight.
Admission to Eastern Florida home games is free.
Eastern Florida’s women’s team opened conference play Saturday with a 59-54 victory at Indian River State. St. Petersburg opened with a 76-66 home court victory over Miami Dade College. Eastern Florida begins 2015 ranked seventh in Florida.
On the men’s side Eastern Florida is ranked second in Florida behind Northwest Florida, which is 17-0 and handed the Titans their only defeat to date. The Titans are ranked 15th nationwide.
The Titans also are two-time defending conference champions so a lot is at stake.
The five conference teams, Eastern Florida, Indian River, Palm Beach State College, Broward College and Miami Dade College, play each other three times apiece to determine the two teams — conference champion and runner-up — who advance to the FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 tournament in Ocala in March.
On the women’s side the conference is comprised of Eastern Florida, St. Petersburg, Miami Dade, Indian River, Broward College and Palm Beach State. The teams also play each other three times each to determine state tournament representatives.
Men’s head coach Jeremy Shulman admits to a bit of surprise at his team’s record to this point.
“I knew this team was capable of it,” said Shulman. “These guys have continued to get better and exceed expectations.
It’s a testament to them because of how hard they worked and how much they bought into the system and their daily work ethic and their daily mentality.”
“We’ve got a true family. It’s fun to coach them as I watch them improve daily.”
Freshman Djordje Beronja is averaging 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds while sophomore Jermohn Queen is at 10.4 points per game and 1.5 steals as a disruptive defensive force.
Sophomore Payton Hulsey and freshman Dashion Smith lead in steals at 2.1 apiece and is assists at 4.1 per game.
Sophomore center/forward Kyle Meyer has been Eastern Florida’s bell cow, averaging a team best 7.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game to go with his second-best 13.4 points. Classmate and guard Demetrius McReynolds leads the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game and averages 5.2 rebounds.
The men are ranked eighth nationally in offensive rebounding at 18.4 per game, 10th in total rebounds at 48.9 and third in rebounding margin at 33.5. They are 18th in steals at 11.7.
“Statistically we are performing well but it’s strength, physical and mental strength, toughness that wins conference games,” Shulman said.
On the women’s side after 13 games sophomore co-captains Jessica Doyle and Rachelle Aupont were the leading scorers at 12.4 and 11.2 points per game respectively.
“We’re improving,” said Eastern Florida head coach Jim Grimes. “But 15 games into our season there is always room for more improvement.
“I’ve preached this all pre-season and preached it at practice today. It’s all about the process. Stick to the process and we will be successful.
Conference games are about executing our sets, shooting, rebounding and performing under duress,” said Grimes.
“That’s what we’ll have to do on Wednesday against a good St. Petersburg team and all of our conference opponents.”
Aupont also leads in rebounding at 9.8 per game. Freshman Crystal Townsend is second at 9.2.
Freshman Paola Vasquez leads in steals at 1.7 per game. Freshman Nene Johnson leads in assists at 3.4.
The Titans are ranked 18th nationally in three-pointers made at 7.2 per game.
The men play at 7 p.m. at Indian River State. For the women, the game is at 5:30 p.m. in the Melbourne campus gym as they host St. Petersburg College.