EFSC Men Defeat Miami Dade 89-69, Tied For First Place
By Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications // February 1, 2015
Payton Hulsey scored 18 points
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Eastern Florida’s men’s basketball team roared out to a 22-point first half lead and never trailed in defeating Miami Dade College 86-69 on Saturday in the Titans Field House on the Melbourne Campus.
The victory moved Eastern Florida to 22-3 overall and 5-2 in the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference tying Miami Dade for first place.
Miami Dade fell to 17-8 and 5-2.
Eastern Florida led 22-2, 24-4 and 30-8 through the first nine minutes of the opening half before Miami Dade regained its footing before the largest and most supportive crowd to see the Titans this season.
The Sharks slowly chipped away and closed to 42-31 at the half behind six three-pointers. The Sharks finished the game with 12 three-pointers.
Eastern Florida came out strong to start the second half and led 54-40 with 14 minutes and 53 seconds to play.
But 1: 48 later it was 54-46. Miami Dade got to within seven at 56-49 with 10:54 to play but Eastern Florida prevailed down the stretch, finishing with a 32-20 run.
Miami Dade had defeated Broward College 101-78 on Wednesday and beat Eastern Florida 65-62 in Kendall on Jan. 17.
But Saturday belonged to the Titans behind 18 points from sophomore Payton Hulsey, 16 from classmate Kyle Meyer and freshman Djordje Beronja and 10 from freshman Daishon Smith.
“Coach just told me to be aggressive on the boards and be aggressive on offense,” Hulsey said.
“We had real extra incentive. They got us at their house so we wanted to get a little bit of revenge at home. This was a must-have and we had to go get it.”
“We came out with a lot of energy and competed on the defensive end. It’s a non-stop fight. Coach pushes us hard in practice and we transfer that in practice to the game.”
The five conference teams play each other three times each to determine the top two finishers who advance to the FCSAA/NJCAA Region 8 tournament in Ocala in March.
Eastern Florida is the two-time defending champion but finds itself in a dogfight down the stretch having to win the remainder of its five games.
“I’m very proud of our guys tonight,” said Eastern Florida head coach Jeremy Shulman whose team won its 45th straight game at home.
“I thought it was toughness throughout. We didn’t necessarily play great at times. We didn’t make shots. They were on fire offensively.”
We withstood every rally they had. We made the tough plays,” said Shulman.
As for Hulsey’s efforts: “We need our best players to step up and when our best players step up we’re really good,” Shulman said. “That’s what we’ve got to have. Payton was just phenomenal tonight.
“That was a big thing on our game plan was trying to hurt them inside on the boards because they’ve got all the shooters. We tried having the muscle.”
Next up for the Titans is a 7 p.m. Wednesday game at Broward in Davie. Broward went into Saturday’s game against Indian River at 5-2 in conference.
Eastern Florida’s next home game is 7 p.m. Feb. 11 against Palm Beach State. The game will be televised live on WEFS-TV and streamed live at www.njcaatv.com/efsc