Men's basketball team loses in Region VIII championship game

Men's basketball team loses in Region VIII championship game

The Eastern Florida State College men's basketball team could not find their rhythm Saturday night.

The 18th-ranked Titans held No. 8 Northwest Florida State College to one of its lowest scoring games of the season but shot just 38 percent from the floor in a 67-58 loss in the FCSAA/NJCAA Region VIII State Championship game at the College of Central Florida in Ocala.

Northwest Florida went on a 7-0 run midway through the first half as the Titans did not score for almost five minutes but a Nathanael Jack 3-pointer stopped the run with two minutes 27 seconds left in the half. The Raiders would go into halftime with an eight-point lead, 30-22.

The Titans made a run in the second half, trailing by 13 points with 14 minutes remaining they went on a 13-3 run to cut the lead to three points with just under 10 minutes left. But the Titans could not get any closer.

A trio of sophomores paced the Titans as guard Jalen Warren finished with a team-high 19 points while Junior Madut had 13 and Nathanael Jack had 11.

Northwest Florida's Javion Hamlet finished with 21 points and was named the MVP of the tournament. It was the Raiders' second straight Region VIII title.

Warren and Ayo Dada were named to the Region VIII All-Tournament team.

The Titans, who are now 26-7 on the season, will find out if they have earned an at-large bid in the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament on Monday afternoon during a selection show. Eastern Florida State College has been to the past four national championship tournaments in Hutchinson Kansas, finishing third last year and runner-up the year before.