TFC’s men’s basketball team fell on Friday night to Florida Christian College in the semifinals of the South Region tournament in Clearwater, Florida. After defeating tournament hosts Clearwater Christian College 78 – 62 on Thursday in the quarterfinals, the #4 seeded Eagles faced the tournament’s top seed Florida Christian College for a spot in the region championship. TFC was unable to slow the Suns’ attack and lost 99 – 81.
The Eagles and Suns traded baskets in the opening minutes with neither team holding more than a three point advantage. The Eagles led 21 – 20 nearly 10 minutes into the game, but that lead would be their last of the evening. Over the next five minutes, FCC would go on a 12 – 4 run that would build a 32 – 25 lead. TFC closed the gap to 45 – 37 in the final seconds of the half, but their momentum was lost as FCC converted a three point play as the first half clock expired. The converted three point play gave FCC a 48 – 37 lead at the half.
The second half began with another FCC scoring run that TFC struggled to prevent. The Suns opened the second half with 19 – 8 run that put the Eagles behind 69 – 44. When Coach Jason Mehl called a timeout for the Eagles with 7:40 left in the game and his team trailing 78 – 49, he challenged his team. “It would have been really easy for a young team to quit and pack it in. I was really proud that we kept fighting,” said Mehl. The young Eagles closed the gap, but the frantic final minutes ended TFC’s season, 99 – 81. Coach Mehl added, “Florida Christian went on several scoring runs that we didn’t really have an answer for. But I’m really proud of this team. We matured over the season and built a nice foundation to build on.”
Sophomore Josh Barrett was selected to first team All – Region and had 10 points for the Eagles. Fellow Sophomore Derek Westfall led the Eagles in scoring against FCC with 25 points. Westfall was selected second team All – Region for the season. Josh Johnson and Freddie Harrell added 13 and 10 points, respectively. The semifinal loss marked the end of the career for TFC’s lone senior, John Sinclair.