Titans one win from Region VIII men's basketball championship

Titans one win from Region VIII men's basketball championship

As the team celebrated the latest come-from-behind victory, one phrase was said over and over.

One more.

The Eastern Florida State College men's basketball team is one win away from a Region VIII Men's Basketball Championship title after defeating Northwest Florida 83-79 in the second semifinal Friday night at the College of Central Florida in Ocala.

The No. 3 team in the country and defending champions led for most of the second half, but the Titans stayed within striking distance and with two minutes left, the Titans did just that.

With two minutes to go, Noah Horchler hit a 3-pointer to give the Titans a one-point lead. After a Northwest Florida basket Kareem Brewton gave Eastern Florida the lead again with a steal and layup. Northwest grabbed the lead for the last time as another basket by Brewton put the Titans up 80-79. The Raiders tried to answer one more time, but the rebound turned into a scramble for the loose ball and Brewton grabbed it, getting fouled.

"I was thinking about diving to the floor but remembered coach seeing if you can grab it with two hands, grab it and so that is what I did," Brewton said. "I just tried to dribble up the court and got fouled."

The foul turned into a flagrant one and Brewton hit both free throws and the Titans had the ball with just two seconds on the clock and held on for the win.

"I am just so proud of the guys, the resiliency that we showed tonight. We dug deep and found a way tonight," Eastern Florida State College men's basketball coach Jeremy Shulman said.

The win sends the Titans back to the Region VIII championship for the third time in five seasons and handed the Raiders their first loss since the Titans beat them back in December.

Michael Nuga once again came up huge for the Titans, keeping the game close throughout the first half finishing with 14 points in the half and a second straight career-high performance, finishing with 19 points.

But the second half belonged to Brewton as the sophomore scored 19 of his game-high 25 points in the half. He also had seven assists and five rebounds.

Austin Awad and Joan Duran each had 11 points for the 28-4 Titans who will get a rematch with St. Petersburg on Saturday night in the final. The two teams have split the first two meetings this season.

St. Petersburg advanced to the final with a comeback of their own, forcing overtime and defeating Daytona State College 80-76.

The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. and will be shown live at cfpatriots.net/fcsaatournament