The TFC Eagles hosted the Berry College Vikings in a non-region game Tuesday night. TFC entered the game fresh off an 84-62 loss to Emmanuel College on Monday, while Berry (NCAA D3) was defeated by Oglethorpe University 76-61 in its latest game. Against Berry, the Eagles jumped to an early double-digit lead, expanded its lead to nearly 30 points, but were forced to fend off a ferocious comeback attempt to hang on for the 85-78 victory.
TFC jumped to a 6-0 lead with back to back three pointers and quickly built a 10-2 lead that forced Berry to spend a timeout just two minutes into the game. TFC held a double-digit lead throughout the majority of the first half until Berry closed TFC’s advantage to 28-20 with three minutes left in the half. TFC answered Berry with a 12-2 run to close the first half with a 40-22 lead.
In the opening 20 minutes of play, TFC shot 61% from the floor courtesy of several transition buckets generated by Berry turnovers. Conversely, Berry struggled to settle in its offensive sets against an energetic TFC defense and shot just 31% from the floor.
TFC continued to control the tempo of the game after the restart and grew its lead to 65-38 with 9:04 left to play. With Berry struggling to generate good looks at the basket, the game seemed all but over, but the visiting Vikings would not go down without a fight.
Berry strung together a 13-0 run during the next three minutes of game time and cut the deficit to 65-51 with 6:01 on the clock. With anxiety growing in the stands, TFC appeared to be out of the woods holding a double-digit lead until Berry’s Hunter Smoak completed a four point play to cut the Eagles lead to 77-70 with a 1:34 remaining. After failing to convert on its ensuing possession, TFC found the margin cut to 77-73 after Berry’s Mac Whalen drained a three from the wing. After a TFC timeout, the Eagles regrouped and were able to ice the game from the free throw. Berry scored 40 points in the final 9 minutes of play after scoring just 38 points in the previous 31 minutes of action. Despite the Vikings attempt at a monumental comeback, TFC escaped with an 85-78 victory. The win was TFC’s 6th win in its last 8 contests.
Cam Williams led the Eagles in scoring for the second consecutive game with 18 points. Josh Barrett accumulated 15 points, 10 assists, 8 steals and 5 rebounds in 34 minutes of play. Derek Westfall added 17 points and 7 boards, and Devian Clark dropped 10 points off the bench. Berry’s Hunter Smoak led all scorers with 26 points off 7-15 shooting from behind the arc. Also for the Vikings, Whalen finished with 15 points and Douglas Cotter had 10. For the game, TFC outshot Berry 46% to 39% from the floor.
TFC will travel to Warren Wilson College on Thursday and to Columbia International University on Saturday. The Eagles’ next home game will be played on January 28 against region foes Trinity College of Florida at 7:00 PM.