EFSC Titans Advance To Elite Eight With 87-74 Win In NJCAA National Basketball Tournament
By Michael Parsons, Eastern Florida State College Sports // March 23, 2017
Titans will face Motlow State Tonight in Elite 8
Men’s basketball coach Jeremy Shulman talks about the win over Monroe College Wednesday night in Hutchinson, Kansas pic.twitter.com/zDjwv5oNI6
— EFSC Titans Sports (@efscTitans) March 23, 2017
ABOVE VIDEO: Men’s basketball coach Jeremy Shulman talks about the win over Monroe College Wednesday night in Hutchinson, Kansas with EFSC Sports Communications Director Michael Parsons.
HUTCHINSON, KANSAS – The Eastern Florida State College men’s basketball team used a stifling defense to pick up its first win in three seasons in the NJCAA National Championship Tournament at Hutchinson, Kansas on Wednesday night.
The Titans defeated Monroe College 87-74 in the Sweet 16 round of the tournament to advance to the Elite Eight tonight.
“I can’t lie and do coach speak, I feel great. I am going to enjoy it,” said Titans head basketball coach Jeremy Shulman.
“I have learned from coaches much smarter than me to enjoy the journey and we are going to do that for the next couple of hours,”
“Hopefully the guys do all night, but we are going to go out to eat and enjoy this win.” “This is a special place with a lot of great teams and coaches so we are going to enjoy it before getting back to business.”
The Titans were all business after a slow start saw Monroe College take a four-point lead in the first two minutes of the game.
But Kareem Brewton and Ahmed Ali took over.
Brewton began his patent slashes to the basket and Ali started to hit three 3-pointers and the Titans were off and running.
The lead would reach 15 on Ali’s fourth 3-pointer of the game but Monroe College went on its own run, cutting the lead to eight at the half.
— NJCAA TV (@NJCAATV) March 23, 2017
ABOVE VIDEO TWEET: Ahmed Ali hits way beyond the NBA three point line on Wednesday night. (EFSC)
“I did not think we guarded it or rebounded well in the first half so that was our big thing at halftime, really defending the ball, rebounding and then taking care of the ball on the offensive end,” Shulman said.
The talk worked as the Titans would hold Monroe College scoreless for seven and a half minutes to start the second half and were up 15 once again.
“We really came out and guarded, forced some tough shots and I don’t think they got many, if any, second-chance opportunities in the first seven or eight minutes and that is the key to us having success,” Shulman said.
The Titans out-rebounded Monroe College 44-30 in the game. Brewton, Eli Abaev and Shaq Carter pulled down eigth boards each while frshman Noah Horchler and Ahmed Ali finished with seven.
Ali led the scoring attack with 22 points while Brewton had 18.
Abaev and Horchler each finished with 11 points.
EFSC scored 16 second chance points, outscored Monroe 46-24 in the paint and led by as many as 21 in the contest.
The Titans do have a few things to clean up as they advance to the NJCAA D1 Elite Eight.
They truned the ball over 17 times and only hit 18 of their 26 (69 percent) free throw attempts in the game.
The NJCAA D1 Men’s Tournament has provided its own brand of March Madness as all three teams that won prior to the Titans taking the floor came back in their games to advance.
That includes EFSC’s next opponent, Motlow State.
The Bucks (29-5), who entered the 24 team tournament as a No.14 seed upset Georgia Highlands, 70-69 on Wednesday.
The Chargers (32-2) entered the tournament as the No.3 seed and blew a 14-point lead with 8:00 minutes to play, missing two foul shots at the very end, allowing Motlow State to advance to face the Titans tonight.
Motlow State Community College is located in southern Middle Tennessee in a town called Tullahoma.
They play in the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association and won both the conference regular season and tournament titles this past year.
This is their second trip trip Hutchinson, Kansas after the Bucks also won the regular season and tournament championship in 2013.
They were eliminated after winning one game. They are coached by JT Burton and are led by nine freshman and two sophomores.
Offensively, a trio of first year players lead the way. Javion Hamlet (15.8 PPG), Rashawn Fredericks (13.8 PPG) and Isaiah Hart (13.3 PPG) all averaged scoring in double digits this season.
Hamlet and Hart combined to score 39 of the Bucks 70 points in their upset win over Georgia Highlands.
On the defensive side, another freshman Kevonte Korley, leads the team as he averages seven boards, two blocks and one steal per contest.
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