The Toccoa Falls College men’s basketball team welcomed Piedmont International University to campus on Saturday for a non-region game. The Eagles played excellent team defense but struggled from the floor, and fell 53 – 59 .
The two evenly matched teams traded field goals throughout the opening minutes of the game. Despite the Eagles shooting only 1-10 from three point range, they remained within four points of PIU in the first half. PIU’s 28 – 24 halftime lead was the Eagles largest deficit of the half. The Eagles continued to struggle from the floor early in the second half and quickly found themselves in a double digit hole. The inside presence of TFC’s Derek Westfall and Billy Aristide closed the gap to three points with less than five minutes remaining. The deficit would remain at three points within the final minutes of the game until PIU sealed the victory from the free throw line. The Bruins, led by Tony Hsu’s 4-4 free throw shooting, shot 10-12 from the line in the second half to seal the Eagles fate. Coach Mehl was pleased with his team’s defensive effort, but laminated the Eagles 33% shooting performance, “Donavan Smith, Josh Johnson, and Carlos Hamlett did a great job of guarding their top two scorers. But we are a much better shooting team than we showed.”
Josh Barrett led the Eagles in scoring with 15 points, and Westfall added 14. Aristide grabbed 15 rebounds to go with his 8 points. The Eagles will host Georgia Northwestern Tech on Tuesday at 7:00 before heading to Florida to face Trinity College of Florida and Florida Christian College on January 25 and 26, respectively.