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.
The Titans defeated Monroe College 87-74 in the Sweet 16 round of the tournament Wednesday night to advance to the Elite Eight on Thursday night.
"I can't lie and do coach speak, I feel great. I am going to enjoy it. 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," Eastern Florida State College men's basketball coach Jeremy Shulman said. "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 as Brewton slashed to the basket and Ali 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.
"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 outrebounded Monroe College 44-30 in the game as three players had eight and two others had seven.
Eastern Florida State College advances to play Motlow State Community College in an Elite Eight game on Thursday night.
Motlow State advanced by edging No. 3 seed Georgia Highlands 70-69 in a game that came down to free throws in the final seconds.
Tipoff is at 9 p.m. EDT and can be seen live on efsctitans.com/webcast