Late Free Throws Lift TFC Over Piedmont
Toccoa Falls College hosted Piedmont College (NCAA Division III) on February 22 in the final game of the Eagles’ regular season. Piedmont was victorious over TFC 83-74 when the teams squared off earlier in the season. In the rematch on Saturday night, TFC avenged its previous loss and topped the Piedmont Lions 59-57.
After a pregame ceremony that honored juniors Derek Westfall (pictured below, left) and Josh Barrett (pictured below, right), TFC’s newest members of the 1,000 point club, the game opened with a frantic pace that made a high-scoring affair seem inevitable. Both teams converted its chances early, and the sides remained tight throughout the half. Neither side held a margin larger than 5 points, and there were 6 lead changes in the half. Toccoa Falls and Piedmont both shot 39% from the floor in the first half, but the Lions held a slim 29-28 advantage at the half.
Back-to-back lay ups from Westfall and Cam Williams propelled TFC into the lead just minutes into the new half, 38-34. The Eagles would hold its largest lead of the game at 42-37, though that margin would be quickly erased by Piedmont. The scoreboard continued to see-saw back and forth as the Eagles and Lions continued to trade baskets as the clock wound down.
TFC’s Jon Sauls hit a finger-roll lay up to tie the game at 57-57 with 1:42 remaining. The score would remain deadlocked at 57-57 as the Eagles held the ball for the final shot of the game. With the shot clock turned off, Josh Barrett isolated his man and waited for the clock to wind inside 10 seconds. As Barrett drove and the Lions defense focused on him, Cam Williams made a back cut and was fed the ball by Barrett. On the shot attempt, Williams was fouled and sent to the line for two free throws. Following a Piedmont time out, Williams swished both attempts from the stripe. Williams’ free throws gave TFC the final 59-57 edge. The Eagles escaped Piedmont as the Lions’ last second heave landed harmlessly out of bounds. In all, the evenly played game was tied 10 times and had 13 lead changes.
Coach Jason Mehl said of the dramatic win, “Tonight was a gutsy win. Neither team could put together a run and build momentum. All of our guys played and battled and kept us close. In the end we needed a couple of defensive stops and a couple of big plays. Jon Sauls hit two big shots late, we got the stops and rebounds, and then Josh Barrett found Cam Williams and he went to the line and hit the free throws. It was great to win this one tonight to adjust our momentum back in a positive direction before the tournament next week.”
Saturday’s win over Piedmont was the third NCAA Division III opponent TFC has beaten this season. On January 21, TFC defeated Berry College 85-78. Additionally, the Eagles were victorious over Sewanee University 70-67 on February 4.
Westfall led the Eagles in scoring with 15 points, and Sauls added 13. Clay Martin had 6 points and 5 boards off the bench. Piedmont’s Chase England had a team high 15 points. Trae Gaines contributed 13 points in the loss.
The Eagles conclude the regular season with a 12-16 record and an 8-4 mark in region play. Toccoa Falls will head to Johnson University of Florida on February 27-March 1 to compete in the south region tournament. TFC is likely the three seed in the 7 team tournament. Game times and streaming information will be released as soon as they are made available.
Eagles Come Up Empty in Florida
The TFC men’s basketball team hit the road on February 13-14 for crucial region matchups against Pensacola Christian College and Clearwater Christian College. The Eagles had previously defeated both opponents earlier in the season. In Toccoa, the Eagles topped PCC 98-92 in overtime on January 16. Similarly, TFC was victorious over Clearwater 87-78 in the first contest of the season between the rivals. In Florida, the Eagles would not experience the same results and struggled against both region foes. On February 13, TFC was defeated 86-59 in Pensacola. After traveling to Clearwater the next day, TFC again fell short, and lost 84-77 to the Cougars.
The Eagles struggled to find its rhythm in Pensacola, and were never able to establish its offense in the opening minutes of the first half. TFC’s offensive issues were compounded when its leading scorer Josh Barrett was whistled for three fouls in the first six minutes of action and forced to sit on the bench for the remainder of the half. With Barrett on the bench, TFC shot just 3-19 in the half and trailed 35-14 at the half.
TFC opted to open the second half with a smaller line up against the long athletes of Pensacola. With Barrett back on the floor, the Eagles ratcheted the defensive pressure and went on a 12-5 run that would cut PCC’s lead to 12 points. The Eagles attempted to cut into the home side’s lead, but were derailed when Barrett picked up his fourth personal foul and forced out of the game. Pensacola shot the ball very well in the second period and exploded its lead out of reach from Toccoa. In the half, PCC shot 66% from three point range and 60% overall. With the hot shooting, PCC pulled away from Toccoa for the 86-59 victory over TFC.
While the majority of the team struggled on the night, two freshmen shone for the Eagles off the bench. Nathan Palmer led the team in scoring with 12 points, and was 4-5 from the floor and 3-3 from the line. Josh Folwell battled Pensacola’s large front line all night, and contributed 11 points on 9-14 shooting from the free throw line. Folwell also grabbed 5 rebounds. Jon Sauls also finished with 11 points for the Eagles. Pensacola, Mike Goetsch led all scorers with 21 points. TJ Jackson added 13 points, and Joel Thomas contributed 10 points.
With fresh wounds from the Pensacola game, the Eagles traveled to Clearwater for a rematch with the Cougars, who were hungry for revenge after an intense game in Toccoa just two week prior. The Eagles showed no signs of a hangover and held a 15-14 lead in the early minutes of the first half. After holding a slim 20-19 lead, the Eagles built a 28-20 lead with four minutes to play. After calling a timeout to stop TFC’s surge, Clearwater closed the half with a run of its own to tie the game at 32-32 at the half.
Clearwater carried its momentum into the new half and held a 45-40 lead with 16:30 left. At that point in the game, the visiting Eagles had been whistled for enough fouls to place Clearwater in the bonus for the remainder of the game. Despite being cautious with the foul totals, Toccoa fought back to regain the advantage with 7:17 left to play, 60-59. TFC would not be able to hang onto the lead and would eventually be defeated 84-77.
TFC’s Cam Williams led all scorers and rebounders with 25 points and 17 rebounds. Derek Westfall added 15 points and 9 boards for the Eagles. Clearwater finished with four players in double digits, led by 20 points from Michael Key. Devin Paularinne finished with 19 points, and Colin DeHate added 14. Erik McRae contributed 17 points and 10 assists in the win.
Toccoa will return home for its final regular season game on February 22 as the Eagles host Piedmont College. On February 27, Toccoa Falls will return to Florida to compete in the south region tournament hosted by Johnson University (FL). The Eagles are 8-4 in region play and 11-16 overall.
TFC’s Win Streak Snapped by CIU
TFC welcomed Columbia International University to campus on February 8 for the second match up of the year between the two teams. In January, the Eagles defeated CIU 76-75 in dramatic fashion. In the rematch, TFC fell to CIU 77-71.
As both sides tried to solve the opposition’s tactics, the early minutes of the game were played evenly until Cam Williams, Josh Barrett, and Derek Westfall combined for a 7-0 run to give the Eagles a 14-7 advantage midway through the opening half. TFC would go the next 7 minutes of game time without a field goal, and the Rams surged to take a 23-16 lead with 2:23 left in the opening half. But Clay Martin’s short jumper as the half expired sent the teams to the locker room tied at 23-23.
TFC and CIU continued to play even, physical basketball in the second half. After trading leads and several ties, the sides were even at 48-48 with 6:18 to play. At 4:08 remaining on the clock and CIU holding a slim 53-50 lead, the Rams’ Zach Durkee completed a four point play, and Alonzo Green quickly drained a three pointer. In a matter of seconds, CIU held a 60-50 advantage. The Eagles struggled to turn the tide, and trailed by as many as 11 points in the final moments of the game. Jon Sauls (pictured above) was fouled on a three point shot and hit all three free throws and converted an acrobatic layup to cut CIU’s lead to 68-63 with less than two minutes remaining. Nathan Palmer hit a three pointer from the wing to give TFC hope in the final seconds, but CIU iced the game from the free throw line as TFC was forced to foul to stop the clock. CIU would hang on for the 77-71 victory over Toccoa Falls.
Cam Williams and Josh Barrett finished with identical 16 points and 7 rebounds. Barrett also added 8 assists, three blocks, and two steals. Westfall contributed 12 points and 8 boards in the loss. CIU’s Ben Johnson hit 7-8 free throws and led all scorers with 22 points. Alonzo Green added 20 points for the Rams.
The defeat to CIU was TFC’s first loss in its last 6 games. The Eagles will travel to Pensacola Christian College (Feb. 13) and Clearwater Christian College (Feb. 14) for region games that will go a long way in determining region tournament seeding. Currently, the Eagles sit in 2nd place in the region with a 8-2 mark.
TFC Continues Winning Streak Against Sewanee
Toccoa Falls hosted the Sewanee Tigers on Tuesday night. The Tigers hosted and defeated TFC 82-63 in late November. Sewanee is a member of NCAA Division III and owned an 11-8 record prior to Tuesday’s contest. Toccoa Falls sat at 10-13 on the season, but had won 10 of its last 13 games after a 0-10 start. In Tuesday’s rematch, the Eagles used full court pressure to exact revenge on the Tigers, 70-67.
Sewanee opened the game with back to back lay ups for a quick 4-0 lead. TFC would go on a four minute, 12-0 run to hold a 12-4 lead 6 minutes into play. The teams played evenly throughout the first half and exchanged the lead five times throughout the opening period. After trailing 19-21 with 4:04 remaining, TFC closed the half on an 8-3 run to hold a slim 27-24 halftime lead.
In the second half, TFC never trailed and would hold a lead that grew as large as 54-44 with just over 8 minutes remaining in the game. Just as Sewanee was gaining some moment and tension was growing, TFC’s Clay Martin threw down a powerful two hand slam to ignite the crowd and the Eagles. Martin’s dunk gave TFC a 61-54 lead. Sewanee’s Seth Brown and Jorden Williams combined to hit three consecutive three pointers to close TFC’s gap to 66-63. Josh Barrett hit a tough jumper and Derek Westfall converted two free throws to extend the Eagles lead to 70-63 with 2:04 remaining. Sewanee’s Keshonn Carter scored four consecutive points to narrow TFC’s margin to 70-67 with 55 seconds still to play. TFC buckled down on defense, and the only shot the Eagles would allow over the last minute of action was a last second three point attempt by Sewanee’s Matt Tome. Even though Sewanee had shot 6-9 behind the arc in the second half, Tome’s attempt was long, and the clock expired for TFC’s 5th consecutive victory. Additionally, the win was TFC’s 11th win in its last 14 games.
The Tigers out shot the Eagles in the game, 48%-40%. However, TFC’s full court pressure forced Sewanee into 18 turnovers, and allowed TFC to score 21 totals off turnovers, compared to Sewanee’s 10 points off TFC turnovers. TFC’s clutch free throw shooting in the second half helped to seal the win. The Eagles shot 9-10 from the line in the half and 16-21 in the game.
TFC’s Cam Williams (pictured above) led all scorers with 21 points. Williams also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Josh Barrett was 4-7 behind the arc and finished with 17 points. Jon Sauls added 11 points. For the Tigers, Carter dropped 20 points, and Williams added 15.
The men’s and women’s teams will welcome Columbia International University to campus on Saturday. Both teams defeated CIU on January 25 in tight games. The Lady Eagles needed double overtime to top the Lady Rams, 75-71, and the TFC men defeated CIU 76-75. The Lady Eagles will get the double header underway at 2:00 PM.
Eagles Defeat Region Foes Johnson (FL) and Clearwater
The TFC Eagles hosted region foes Johnson University (FL) and Clearwater Christian College on January 31 and February 1, respectively. Before the weekend’s games, TFC sat at 6-2 in region play, and had won 8 of its last 11 games dating back to mid-December. Of late, the Johnson University (FL) Suns have struggled and traveled to Toccoa without a win in the calendar year. Conversely, Clearwater earned road wins at Piedmont International University and Bob Jones University in the two nights preceding its visit to TFC. On Friday night, TFC comfortably topped Johnson (FL), 75 – 60. The Eagles improved to 8-2 in region play after TFC defeated Clearwater 87 – 78 on Saturday.
The Johnson Suns opened Friday’s game with a 7-0 start, but TFC responded with a 17-0 run and led 17-7 with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. The Eagles would continue to add on to their lead and led by as many as 15 points in the final minutes of the first half. TFC took a 42-29 lead into the locker rooms.
TFC executed on both ends of the court after the intermission and held a 20 point lead midway through the final period. Mindful of another important conference game looming on Saturday, Coach Mehl kept the minutes balanced for the Eagles for the remainder of the game. All Eagles played at least 12 minutes in the comfortable win as the Eagles cruised to a 75-60 victory.
Derek Westfall led the Eagles in scoring with 18 points. Jon Sauls added 15 points on 5-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Cam Williams had missed the Eagles’ win over Trinity College of Florida earlier in the week due to an injury, but returned against the Suns and scored 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. Johnson’s Montique Lynch scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.
Toccoa Falls sustained its sharp execution on Saturday against Clearwater in the season’s first match up between the long-standing rivals. TFC took command of the game in the early going and converted its full court pressure into transition baskets and open looks from three point range for Jon Sauls and Josh Barrett. TFC held a strong 21-9 advantage with 13 minutes remaining in the first half. The Eagles led by as many as 16 in the first half, but Clearwater cut the lead to 40-29 at the half.
In the second half, Clearwater chipped away at the TFC lead and cut the deficit as close as 6 points, but the Eagles never lost control and rebuilt a 12 margin on the strength of big men Cameron Williams and Derek Westfall. The Cougars struggled to match up with Williams, who scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half. The pesky Cougars continued their comeback effort and converted clutch shots late in the game, but were forced to stop the clock by sending TFC to the free throw line. Williams, Josh Barrett, and Donavan Smith converted their chances from the “charity stripe” to ice the game and helped top the Cougars 87-78.
Said Coach Mehl of the win, “This is a huge win for us. Clearwater is a great team with talented players who’d just won two huge close games the two nights before they came in here. We knew we’d have to work hard to stop their momentum. We were able to do that with defense early and our shooters hit some big shots. Then our big men were able to close things out for us in the second half. I’m proud of the way our guys kept their composure down the stretch and stayed focused on keeping it simple–getting stops and rebounds and knocking down free throws. Tonight’s game definitely made us a better team.”
The aforementioned Williams led TFC with 24 points on 8-10 shooting from the line. Williams grabbed a game-high 12 boards. Josh Barrett scored 21 points and added 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Sauls and Westfall each finished with 11 points, and Westfall contributed 7 rebounds. Donavan Smith added 9 points in the win.
Clearwater also finished with four players in double digits. Mike Key led all scorers with 30 points. Key also had 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 blocks. Erik McRae added 15 points, and Eddie Moralobo and Colin DeHate added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
After starting the season with a young team facing an extremely tough mix of NCAA Division I, NCAA DIII, and NAIA teams, the Eagles have matured and are 10-3 in their last 13 games and 8-2 in region play.
NCAA DIII Sewanee University will travel to Toccoa on February 4 and look to disrupt TFC’s momentum. Tuesday’s game will tip off at 7:00 PM.
TFC Improves Region Mark to 6 – 2
The TFC Eagles hosted Trinity College of Florida in a region showdown on Tuesday night. Trinity College defeated Piedmont International on Monday night, and the Eagles most recently defeated Columbia International University 76-75 on Saturday. On January 10, TFC topped Trinity 56-47. With both teams fighting for position in the region standings, Monday’s result would prove to be a hard fought win for the Eagles, 51-50.
The visiting Tigers took an early 9-0 lead and would hold the edge for the entire first half. Trinity built a 17-9 lead, 8 minutes into the game, but the Eagles were able to gain some traction on offense and closed the gap to 25-23 late in the half. Trinity College held a 29-26 lead at the intermission.
TFC began the second half with an enthusiasm that was previously lacking in the game. After both teams traded baskets in the early going, TFC’s Jon Sauls tied the game with his second pointer of the night, 33-33. Sauls would hand TFC its first lead of the game with a free throw and an acrobatic layup. Sauls’ six straight points gave TFC a 36-33 lead. Trinity climbed back on top with 8:38 remaining and would grow its lead to 48-44. Juniors Derek Westfall and Josh Barrett combined to convert four consecutive free throw attempts to re-tie the game at 48-48 with less than two minutes remaining. After Trinity scored in the paint and led 50-48, Josh Barrett converted an old fashioned three point play to give TFC the 51-50 lead with 46 seconds remaining. Trinity failed to score on its ensuing position, but TFC would then miss the front end of a 1 and 1. Trinity scared the home crowd with a desperation three pointer that bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded. In dramatic come-from-behind fashion, TFC improved its region record to 6-2 and have won 8 of its last 11 games.
Josh Barret led the Eagles with 14 points. Derek Westfall recorded 12 points and 14 boards, and Jon Sauls added 10 points. Trinity’s Kornilious Donnell led all scorers with 18 points. Donnell added 11 boards in the loss. Jirous Knight contributed 13 points for the Tigers.
TFC will host two additional region games this week. First, Johnson University of FL will square off with TFC on Friday night at 7:00. The Eagles were victorious 69-49 against Johnson earlier this month. On Saturday at 4:00, TFC and Clearwater Christian College will meet for the first time this season. Saturday’s game will be preceded by the Lady Eagles hosting the Lady Cougars at 2:00.
Eagles Defeated by Owls
The TFC Eagles were beaten at Warren Wilson College on Thursday, 83-69.
TFC used its full court pressure to grab an early 11 point lead, but were unable to sustain its early momentum. TFC led 18-10 midway through the first half, but WWC surged from behind to tie the game at the half, 30-30.
The price of playing four games in a week’s time took its toll on TFC in the second half. Warren Wilson quickly broke the deadlock and led 37-31 shortly after the restart, and forced TFC to call a timeout to slow WWC’s momentum. With 12:22 left in the game, TFC trailed 47-35 and would go on to fall 83-69 in the end.
Cam Williams led the Eagles with 24 points on 10-16 shooting. Derek Westfall added 12 points and was 7-8 from the floor. WWC’s Justin Gonyea was 7-10 from three point range and led all scorers with 30 points. Rashad Ali added 12 points and 9 boards for the Owls.
TFC will travel to Columbia International University on Saturday (4:00), and will host region opponent Trinity College of Florida on January 28 at 7:00 PM.
TFC Bests Berry College
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.
TFC Falls To Emmanuel
TFC hosted Emmanuel College Lions on Monday night for a non-region match up between the two geographically close schools. Emmanuel topped TFC 85-67 in the Eagles’ first game of the season in early November. The Emmanuel Lions traveled to Toccoa with a 15-2 mark overall, and a #16 rank in the NAIA Top 25. TFC had won 5 of its last 6 games, each of which have been region wins for the Eagles. On Monday, Emmanuel took early control of the game and maintained its lead through the game for the 84-62 win over TFC.
Emmanuel hit back to back three pointers on its first two possessions of the game to take a 6-0 lead. Less than five minutes to the game, TFC trailed 13-5 and struggled to get good looks at the basket against Emmanuel’s long, athletic defense. As Emmanuel’s lead grew to 22-14, TFC’s Devian Clark converted an old-fashion three point play to cut the deficit to 22-17. As was the story for most of the game, TFC would make a small run, but Emmanuel would answer with a run of its own. Emmanuel’s lead stood at 33-19 with 5 minutes remaining in the half. TFC closed the margin with another run and closed the game to 34-28 behind 5 straight points from Cam Williams. Emmanuel held the single-digit lead going into the half, 36-28.
After the restart, TFC was able to keep Emmanuel’s lead hoovering near the 10 point margin until the Lions capitalized on successive TFC turnovers and exploded its lead to 73-53 with around 8 minutes remaining. In the final minutes, the frantic, open-paced game allowed Emmanuel to grow its lead to as large as 79-55 in the final minutes of the game. In the end, TFC went down fighting but fell 84-62.
Josh Barrett led the Eagles with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and four assists. Cam Williams had 14 points, and Derek Westfall added 13. Emmanuel’s Luke Miller led all scorers with 18 points, and Michael Stanley added 13 points for the visiting Lions.
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at TFC will host Berry College on Tuesday night in a double header. The Lady Eagles will get the games started at 5:00.
Eagles Score Region Road Win
TFC traveled to Piedmont International University on January 18 for a region game in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Eagles entered the contest with the Bruins having won four of its five last games. The winning streak began in December with a 90-50 victory over Piedmont International in Toccoa. The rematch between TFC and PIU had several new faces introduced to the regional rivalry, but the outcome of the game was another TFC victory, 71-69.
Piedmont International, with 7 new players added to its roster at the semester break, put the Eagles on notice from the opening tip that January’s game would not be resemble December’s route. TFC’s pressure created several turnovers in the early going, but PIU’s athleticism and hustle made it difficult for TFC to capitalize on the turnovers. The first half saw several lead changes as TFC struggled to score from the perimeter, and the Bruins’ guards found their way into the paint for easy buckets. After trailing by as many as four, TFC’s Josh Barrett completed as three point play at the end of the first half to give TFC a slim 37-36 halftime lead.
Toccoa Falls would fall behind by as many as 8 points late in the second half as the Eagles were unable to keep the Bruins off the offensive glass. Several second chance points surged PIU to an 8 points with 6 minutes left to play. TFC was able to lock down the rebounds late in the game and continued to chip away at PIU’s lead.
The Eagles cut the deficit to 69-66 with 45 seconds left in the game. Zach Barrett found Jon Sauls on the wing for a deep three pointer to tie the game at 69-69. PIU could not answer on the ensuing possession, and Josh Barrett pushed the rebound up the court on the secondary break. Josh Barrett found Zach Barrett on the wing with a cross-court pass, and Zach Barrett was able to dish to Derek Westfall unguarded under the basket. Westfall’s final basket of the game gave TFC the 71-69 lead with 11 seconds remaining. Piedmont’s desperation heave was contested tightly by TFC’s defense and bounced harmlessly off the backboard as the horn sounded. With the errant final shot, TFC escaped Piedmont International with a 71-69 win.
Coach Jason Mehl said of his team, “It’s great to win close games. It’s not great to have to come from behind, but it’s obviously something that great teams have to do. I’m not ready to call us a great team yet, but we’re a good team that’s getting better quickly.”
Westfall led all scorers with 30 points. Devian Clark grabbed a game-high 7 rebounds and added a career high 13 points off the bench.
With the win, TFC’s pushes its region record to 5-2. The Eagles have won 5 of its last 6 contests with its lone loss being dealt by region-leading Trinity Baptist College in overtime.
The Eagles will host Emmanuel College on Monday night at 7:00 PM. Monday’s game will be “Cosmic Night,” sponsored by SGA. Berry College will travel to Toccoa on Tuesday night for a 7:00 PM tip.
TFC Wins in OT
The TFC Eagles hosted the Pensacola Christian College Eagles in a crucial region showdown on Thursday night. Toccoa Falls had previously won three of their last four games; all of which have come in region play. Both Toccoa Falls and Pensacola were defeated by Trinity Baptist College in their most recent games. TFC fell victim to Trinity Baptist 66-61 (OT) on Saturday, while Trinity topped Pensacola 75-64 on Tuesday. In Thursday’s action, TFC jumped to a first half that grew as large as 20 points, but needed an overtime period to finally prevail over the pesky visitors, 98-92.
Jon Sauls and the Eagles jumped to an early 16-7 lead just 5 minutes into the first half. TFC continued its hot shooting throughout the first 15 minutes of gameplay, and built a lead that swelled to 36-17 when Sauls drained back to back three pointers. Trailing 45-25 with 3:15 left in the first half, Pensacola scored 8 consecutive points in less than a minute’s time to cut TFC’s lead to 45-32. TFC was forced to call a timeout, and slowed Pensacola’s momentum to take a 47-32 lead into the half.
In the half, Sauls led all scorers with 17 points. Josh Barrett added 13 points in the first period. As a team, TFC converted 52% of its field goal attempts, including 8-15 from behind the arc. Conversely, PCC shot 63% in the first half when attempting a two-point field goal, but were just 1-12 from distance.
Following the restart, Pensacola carried its scoring frenzy into the new half and quickly shrunk TFC’s advantage to 54-48. After struggling from three point range in the first half, PCC stroked the three ball at a 9-18 clip in the second half. TFC continued to execute its offense as well, but could not slow down Pensacola’s offensive explosion. TFC saw its lead dwindled to 76-74 with three minutes left to play.
Despite untimely turnovers down the stretch, TFC held an 82-78 lead with 53 seconds left in the game. TFC was unable to put the game away from the free throw line, but held an 83-80 lead with 5 seconds left on the clock. Pensacola ran a sideline out of bounds play and found Joel Thomas in the corner. Thomas took a dribble to his right, and buried a three pointer despite tight defensive pressure. Thomas’ three tied the game for the first time and sent it to overtime, tied at 83-83.
In overtime, Pensacola took an 85-83 lead; its first lead of the game. Donovan Smith and the Eagles defense tighten and forced Pensacola into shooting 2-10 in overtime. After failing to ice the game from the free throw line in the second half, TFC shot 11-14 from the line in OT, including clutch free throws from Josh Barrett and Smith in the final minute. TFC’s constricting defense and clutch free throw shooting propelled the Eagles to the 98-92 win.
Josh Barrett scored a team high 22 points and shot 11-13 from the line. Barrett also recorded 6 assists. Jon Sauls finished the game 6-12 from deep for 21 points. Derek Westfall added 21 points in the game, 13 of which came in the second half and overtime period. Cam Williams led the Eagles in rebounding with 9 boards and added 14 points. Pensacola’s Joel Thomas scored a game high 30 points and was 4-7 from three point range.
TFC has now won four of its last five games, and own a 4-2 region record. TFC will travel to Piedmont International University on Saturday. The Eagles defeated PIU 90-50 in December. TFC will host Emmanuel College and Berry College on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Both games will begin at 7:00 PM.
Eagles Win Back to Back
TFC traveled to Florida on Thursday night for its first action of the semester. The Eagles faced region opponent Johnson University of Florida in a crucial road contest and were victorious 69-49.
Behind full court pressure and forcing early turnovers, the Eagles opened the game on an 8-0 run. After trailing 15-7, Johnson fought its way back into the game but trailed 15-13 midway through the opening period. TFC would enter the intermission with a 29-22 lead.
“I was pleased with the defensive effort in the first half,” said Coach Jason Mehl. “But I was disappointed we did not put more points on the board.”
After the restart, TFC founds its rhythm on the offensive end while maintaining its defensive pressure to build a double digit lead it would not relinquish. With the win, the Eagles earned their second consecutive region victory. “We were more efficient offensively in the second half and Josh Barrett and Donovan Smith did a great job of finding open men,” continued Mehl.
Derek Westfall led the Eagles with 17 points and 10 rebounds for another double-double. Cam Williams added 15 points in his first action of the season. Also seeing the court for the first time as an Eagle, Zach Barrett impacted the game with four points, three assists, and four steals. Josh Barrett and Smith each tallied 5 assists, and Josh Barrett finished with 12 points from a perfect 4-4 from three point range.
TFC will continue its Florida road trip on Friday night at Trinity College of Florida (7:00) and at Trinity Baptist College (6:30) on Saturday.
TFC Secures Region Win
The Toccoa Falls College Eagles hosted region opponent Piedmont International University on December 12. While most of TFC”s student body had already traveled home for the semester break, the Eagles defeated the visiting Bruins 90-50 for its first win of the 2013-2014 season.
While opening the season with arguably the toughest schedule in recent memory, TFC had fallen in each of its previous 10 games. Nine of TFC’s 10 losses have come against scholarship schools. Despite the tough run of results, the Eagles have continued to play aggressive defense and focus on an attractive motion offense.
With the win over PIU, TFC improved its south region mark to 1-1. Freshman Nathan Palmer earned his first career double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Devian Clark scored a game high 22 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Derek Westfall earned another double-double, scoring 18 points and securing 10 boards. Zach Barrett added 15 points in his first action of the season. For PIU, Timothy Worles scored 21 points and Javon Summers grabbed 10 rebounds.
As a a team, TFC shot 51% from the floor and a season high 92% from the free throw line. PIU shot just 33% from the floor, and was out rebounded by the Eagles at a 43-26 clip.
The Eagles will not return to the court until a three game road trip on January 9-11. The Eagles will face region foes Johnson University (FL), Trinity College of Florida, and Trinity Baptist College on successive days. The next TFC home game will be played on January 16 against Pensacola Christian College, another south region opponent. Tip of is set for 7:00 PM.
Eagles Hang Tough Against NCAA D1 Presbyterian
The Toccoa Falls College Eagles traveled to Clinton, South Carolina on Monday night for an exhibition game with the Presbyterian Blue Hose. On Saturday, TFC lost 104-50 to Georgia Southern University (NCAA D1) in its first exhibition game. PC entered Monday’s game 0-3 on the season with its most recent loss a 69-48 defeat at Wake Forest University. Facing their second consecutive NCAA D1 opponent in a three days span, the Eagles held a halftime lead and were within a single point with under two minutes remaining in the game, but fell in the end, 86-76.
From the opening tip, it was evident TFC would not suffer any affects from its difficult string of four games in five days. The Eagles stayed within striking distance throughout the opening minutes of the first half until Nathan Palmer converted an old-fashioned three point play with 7:45 remaining in the first half to give TFC a 23-22 lead. PC answered TFC with a 5-0 run to retake the lead 27-23. TFC responded, as they would all evening, to tie the game at 29-29 before taking a 37-35 lead into the locker room. In the opening half, TFC out shot PC from the floor, 44% to 32%.
When the teams returned to the floor, Presbyterian quickly found its hot shooting hand and buried several deep three pointers in the opening minutes of the new half. Propelled by accurate shooting against TFC’s zone, PC opened a 55-47 advantage after 6 minutes of play. PC would increase its lead to as many as 11 points before the Eagles closed the gap to 58-52 to force a PC time out. Josh Barrett, TFC’s leading scorer on the night, brought the deficit to 64-57 with an acrobatic three point play.
With 2:20 left to play, Barrett drained one of his two three-pointers on the night to knock PC’s once double-digit lead to 77-74. After a tough defensive stand and rebound, Barrett dove for a loose ball and flipped a pass behind his head to Josh Folwell. Folwell’s layup closed PC’s lead to 77-76 with 1:45 to play. PC’s Jordan Downing drained a quick three from the corner for a four point PC lead, 80-76. Down by four, the Eagles were unable to convert on the offensive end and were forced to foul in order to send the Blue Hose to the line. PC would convert all their free throws in the final minutes and escape the pesky Eagles, 86-76.
TFC out shot PC 46% to 39% in the game, but was out done by PC’s 9-17 three point shooting in the second half. Josh Barrett led all scorers with 22 points on the night and grabbed 10 boards for the double-double. Derek Westfall added 18, and Jon Sauls had 11 points. The Blue Hose had four players in double figures. Jordan Downing’ was 4-9 shooting from three point range and led PC with 21 points. William Truss contributed 19 points and 16 boards. Will Adams added 17, and Reggie Dillard had 14 points to go with his 12 assists.
“I’m so proud of the way everybody played, especially given the difficult stretch of games we played before tonight,” said TFC head coach Jason Mehl. “Every single guy made himself better tonight, and we grew up and together as a team. This game is a huge building block that we’ll continue to build on, starting tomorrow night at Piedmont College.”
The women’s and men’s teams will travel to Piedmont College on Tuesday for a 6:00 and 8:00 double header. On Friday, the Eagles will kick off their 2013 home slate at 6:00 PM against region foes Piedmont International University. Following the men’s game, the Lady Eagles will host Pensacola Christian College at 8:00.
TFC Dropped in Exhibition Game
The Toccoa Falls Eagles completed a three game road trip on Saturday night at NCAA DI Georgia Southern University. The first stop of the road trip pitted the Eagles against two, NCAA DII foes in the Red Myers Classic played at Erskine College. TFC dropped both of its games in the classic, first to North Greenville University 86-54 then 75-47 to hosts Erskine College. The third and final road game in as many days took TFC to Statesboro for an exhibition game with the Georgia Southern Eagles. Earlier in the week, Georgia Southern fell in overtime to the Miami (FL) Hurricanes, 81-80. In Saturday’s exhibition game, Toccoa Falls lost to Georgia Southern, 104-50.
GSU dominated the opening minutes of the game and jumped to a double digit lead five minutes after the opening tip. TFC turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and shot just 6-27 from the floor in the first 20 minutes of action. While TFC struggled make its shots, GSU shot 24-35 overall and 11-20 from three point range in the half. Behind the lopsided shooting percentages, TFC trailed 60-16 at the half.
The Eagles were able to gather their wits following the intermission break. Despite the game being out of reach, TFC continued to play aggressively on both ends and upped its shooting percentage from 22% to 44% in the second half. Another area of improvement for the Eagles in the second half was off the glass. In the opening period, TFC was out rebounded 24-8. In the second half, TFC held the rebounding edge, 23-17. TFC ended the game with a 13-9 run over the final four minutes but fell 104-50.
Derek Westfall led TFC with 15 points on 6-13 shooting. Devian Clark shot 5-7 from the floor for 13 points. GSU’s Tre Bussey scored a game high 29 points behind 7-9 shooting from behind the arc. Bussey also led GSU with 9 boards. Jelani Hewitt added 23 for the home Eagles, and Kyled Doyle contributed 11 points and 7 rebounds.
As an exhibition game, the loss at Georgia Southern will not affect TFC’s record. TFC will hit the road again on Monday as the Eagles travel to Presbyterian College for a 7:45 PM exhibition game with TFC’s second NCAA D1 opponent. On Tuesday, TFC will square off with Piedmont College at 8:00 PM in Demorest. The Eagles’ first home game of the season will be on Friday against Piedmont International University at 6:00 PM.
Eagles Knocked Off in Red Myers Classic
The TFC Eagles participated in the Red Myers Classic on Friday night as they faced tournament hosts Erskine College (NCAA DII). TFC dropped the opening game of the classic on Thursday night to NCAA DII North Greenville University, 86-54. The Erskine Fleet topped Johnson University (TN) the night before, 85-55. In the final game of the early season tournament, the Eagles fell to the Fleet, 75-47.
Trailing by 8 points in the final minutes of the first half, Nathan Palmer hit a three and Donovan Smith hit a jumper to cut the Fleet’s lead to three points at the half. Jon Sauls led TFC with 8 points in the opening period. Josh Barrett and Derek Westfall both added 6 points in the half.
After turning the ball over just four times in the first half, TFC was pressured into 18 second half turnovers, many of which led to easy transition baskets for the hosts. Propelled by full court defense and transition points, Erskine ran away with the game by outscoring TFC 42-17 in the second half.
In the end, Sauls finished with a team-high 12 points, Devian Clark added 11, and Josh Barrett and Derek Westfall both finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
On Saturday, TFC will play its third game in as many days as they travel to Georgia Southern University (NCAA D1) for a 8:00 PM exhibition game. TFC will travel to Presbyterian College (exhibition) on Monday and Piedmont College on Tuesday before hosting Piedmont International University next Friday at 6:00 PM.
TFC Falls at Bob Jones
The Toccoa Falls Eagles traveled to Greenville, South Carolina to face Bob Jones University on Tuesday in the team’s second game of the season. On Saturday, TFC was defeated by Emmanuel College. BJU was 1-0 on the young season as they defeated Johnson University (TN) in their opening game. Against Bob Jones, TFC shot 41% from the floor, but the Eagles could not overcome a lack of depth and fell 88-73.
TFC jumped to 10-5 lead in the first minutes of the game with three point buckets from Jon Sauls and Josh Barrett. Bob Jones rallied to take a lead that grew as large as 31-20 with four minutes left in the half. TFC closed the gap to end the half with a 39-31 deficit.
After the restart, Derek Westfall’s lay up four minutes in cut the once double-digit lead to 46-41. Over the next 8 minutes of game play, the Bruins grew their lead to as many as 18. The Eagles again climbed within 9 points with 7:25 remaining but could not close the gap further. The Bruins would convert their free throws down the stretch to finish with a 88-73 victory.
The Eagles will not take the court again until November 14 as they face North Greenville University at Erskine College. The following day, TFC will face Erskine at 7:00 PM before heading to Georgia Southern University on November 16 for their third road game in three days.
Eagles Season Ends with Semifinal Loss
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 lead 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.
TFC Defeats Clearwater, Advances in Region Tournament
The men’s basketball team from Toccoa Falls College traveled to Clearwater, Florida, on Thursday to face Clearwater Christian College in the quarterfinals of the South Region tournament. #4 TFC used intense defense and a high field goal percentage to defeat #5 Clearwater, 78 – 62.
Within the game’s first 6 minutes, the Eagles had forced the tournament hosts into several turnovers and transitioned defense into offensive lay ups. TFC jumped to a 16 – 9 lead at the 14:25 mark, and forced Clearwater to call a timeout to slow the Eagles. The Cougars closed the gap to 18 – 14 before the Eagles would go on a 8 – 0 scoring run for a 26 – 14 lead. TFC would increase their first half lead to as many as 19 points, highlighted by a Carlos Hamlett steal and assist to Freddie Harrell for a lay up as the first half clock expired. Harrell’s lay up gave TFC a 46 – 27 lead at the intermission.
TFC was able to carry their strong first half into the opening minutes of the new half. The Eagles opened the second half on an 13 – 3 run that would extend their lead to 59 – 30. The 29 point difference would be the Eagles largest lead of the night. TFC continued to beat the Cougars to loose balls and built a 69 – 43 lead with 7 minutes remaining in the game. Clearwater would end the game with a 19 – 9 run of their own, but the Cougars were unable to overcome the large deficit. The Eagles advanced to the South Region semifinals with a 78 – 62 win.
Nine different players scored the for Eagles, led by Freddie Harrell’s 17 points. Derek Westfall added 15 points in just 18 minutes of playing time. Carlos Hamlett’s energy in the first half was a spark for the team, and he finished with 12 points. Josh Barrett narrowly missed out on a triple double, finishing with 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists.
#4 TFC will face #1 Florida Christian College Friday night at 8:00 for a spot in the region championship game. The Eagles are 0 – 2 against the Suns this season, but held a double digit lead over FCC in their last match up before falling 87 – 83 in the final seconds. Also in action on Friday will be the TFC Lady Eagles. #4 Lady Eagles will face #1 Trinity Baptist College at 1:30 in the women’s semifinals. Friday’s games will be streamed online at 1:30 and 8:00, respectively, under the “view live event” tab here.
Eagles Wrap Up Regular Season
The men’s basketball team at Toccoa Falls College finished their regular season schedule by going 1 – 3 in a busy week. On February 11, the Eagles traveled to Piedmont International University and were victorious 77 – 74. The following day, February 12, TFC traveled to Warren Wilson College and were defeated 60 -47. NCAA Division II North Greenville University defeated TFC 106 – 65 on February 14. In the final regular season game, the Eagles hosted Johnson and Wales University on February 16 and fell to the visitors 61- 58.
In the victory over Piedmont International, the Eagles built a 13 point lead in the first half, only to see that lead diminished to 42 – 35 at the half. TFC once again held a 13 point lead over PIU, but the home Bruins capitalized on a string of turnovers and missed shots to take the lead with less than a minute remaining. With possession of the ball but trailing 74 – 72, the Eagles called a play for sharpshooter Jon Sauls. Carlos Hamlett fed the ball to Sauls on the wing for an open three pointer. Sauls’ fifth made three of the game gave TFC a 75 – 74 lead with 12 seconds remaining. TFC’s Derek Westfall, playing with four fouls, stole the ball on PIU’s ensuing offensive possession, and quickly passed to Josh Barrett. Barrett was fouled and converted both free throws for a three point lead with 2.9 seconds left. The Bruins missed a half court heave to secure a 77 – 74 win for TFC.
Coach Mehl said of the win, “It was a huge win for us. We’ve been in so many close games this year, but we haven’t been able to put ourselves in the position to hit the big shots and close out the game.”
Josh Barrett lead the Eagles in scoring with 21 points on 11 – 12 shooting from the line. Westfall and Sauls each finished with 17 points, and Carlos Hamlett added 12.
In the loss at Warren Wilson, TFC had built a 29 – 15 halftime advantage. However, tired legs from four games in five days would cause the Eagles to lose their lead in the second half, and they were beaten 60 – 47. TFC’s Josh Barrett again led the Eagles with 11 points and 5 assists. Jon Sauls added 10 points in the effort.
From the opening tip at home against North Greenville, North Greenville looked to push the tempo offensively, and were successful in getting good shots in transition. The Crusaders used their tempo to jump to an early double digit within 8 minutes of the tip off. The Eagles closed the gap to 20 – 29 with ten minutes remaining, but that is as close as the Eagles would get. Despite shooting a respectable 40% from the field in the opening period, the Eagles were topped by the Crusaders’ 60% shooting. In the second half, TFC began to press offensively and saw their field goal percentage drop to 28% in the half, including 0 – 13 from behind the three point line. Unable to close the gap, the Eagles would fall 65 – 106.
TFC’s Josh Barrett led the Eagles with 22 points and 7 rebounds. Derek Westfall added 14 points and 7 boards in the loss.
In the final regular season game of the season, the Eagles hosted Johnson and Wales University. The Eagles built a 16 – 8 lead early in the first half, but would trail 28 – 30 at halftime. The second half was just as close, as the visitors from Johnson and Wales would squeak out a 61 – 58 win. TFC struggled from behind the three point line in the game, shooting just 4 – 22. Westfall and Barrett each had 19 points for the Eagles.
TFC finishes the regular season at 8 – 22, and will be the four seed in next week’s region tournament. The tournament will be hosted by Clearwater Christian College in Florida, and will be played on February 21 – 23. As the four seed, the Eagles will play hosts Clearwater Christian College in the 4/5 matchup. TFC recently beat Clearwater 94 – 79, but lost 90 – 111 earlier in the season at Clearwater.
TFC Earns Road Conference Win
The Toccoa Falls men’s basketball team traveled to region opponent Piedmont International University on Monday, February 11. The Eagles built a double digit lead in the second, but had to hit a late three pointer to pull out a 77 – 74 win. With the win, TFC has now won four straight games and 6 of their last 9.
The Eagles built a 13 point lead in the first half, only to see that lead diminished to 42 – 35 at the half. TFC once again held a 13 point lead over PIU, but the home Bruins capitalized on a string of turnovers and missed shots to take the lead with less than a minute remaining. With possession of the ball but trailing 74 – 72, the Eagles called a play for sharpshooter Jon Sauls. Carlos Hamlett fed the ball to Sauls on the wing for an open three pointer. Sauls’ fifth made three of the game gave TFC a 75 – 74 lead with 12 seconds remaining. TFC’s Derek Westfall, playing with four fouls, stole the ball on PIU’s ensuing offensive possession, and quickly passed to Josh Barrett. Barrett was fouled and converted both free throws for a three point lead with 2.9 seconds left. The Bruins missed a half court heave to secure a 77 – 74 win for TFC.
Coach Mehl said of the win, “It was a huge win for us. We’ve been in so many close games this year, but we haven’t been able to put ourselves in the position to hit the big shots and close out the game.”
Josh Barrett lead the Eagles in scoring with 21 points on 11 – 12 shooting from the line. Westfall and Sauls each finished with 17 points, and Carlos Hamlett added 12.
The Eagles will conclude their North Carolina road trip today at Warren Wilson College, and host North Greenville University and Johnson and Wales University on February 14 and 16, respectively.
Eagles Win Third in a Row
The men’s basketball team of TFC welcomed Johnson University on February 9 for a non-conference game and won 76 – 57. The Eagles have won 6 of their last 9 games including a three game win streak.
TFC feed the ball to forward Derek Westfall early and often to build a quick, double-digit lead on Johnson. Additionally in the first half, TFC out shot Johnson 42% – 14% from behind the arc. TFC parlayed Westfall’s inside presence and the team’s accurate shooting into a 44 – 27 half time lead. The Eagles kept the large margin in the second half and pulled away for the 76 – 57 win. On the night, the Eagles shot 83% from the free throw line, and won the turnover battle 18 – 10. “It’s great to get three wins in a row,” Coach Mehl reflected. “I hope we can carry this momentum into a tough last week and then into the conference tournament.”
Individually, Derek Westfall finished with a season high 29 points and 10 rebounds with 14 – 18 from the field. Josh Barrett added 20 points on 4 – 8 three point shooting for the Eagles.
TFC will travel to Piedmont International University and Warren Wilson College on February 11 and 12, respectively. The Eagles return home to host North Greenville University on February 14 at 7:00. The final home game of the year will be on February 16 at 4:00 as TFC hosts Johnson and Wales University.
TFC Wins Region Game
TFC men’s basketball team hosted region opponent Trinity College of Florida on Friday, February 8. The Eagles outplayed Trinity in all facets of the game and won 98 – 67.
The Eagles jumped to an early lead over Trinity by creating turnovers and out shooting Trinity 35% – 11% from three point range in the first half. At the half, the Eagles had built a commanding 48 – 35 lead. TFC shot 20 – 36 (55%) from the field in the second half to put the game out of reach for the visiting Tigers.
TFC’s Josh Johnson led the Eagles with a career high 22 points. Josh Barrett had 17 points and 9 assists, and Derek Westfall and Freddie Harrell each added 14 points for the Eagles. Michael Coffey scored 31 points for Trinity in the loss.
TFC will travel to Piedmont International University and Warren Wilson College on February 11 and 12, respectively. The Eagles return home to host North Greenville University on February 14 at 7:00. The final home game of the year will be on February 16 at 4:00 as TFC hosts Johnson and Wales University.
Eagles Route Clearwater
TFC hosted region opponent Clearwater Christian College on Saturday, February 2. The Eagles exploded for 57 points in the second half on their way to a 94 – 79 victory.
Following a heartbreaking loss to #3 Florida Christian, the Eagles were forced to recover quickly in order to beat Clearwater. The Eagles showed mental toughness early as they came out with high intensity on defense. The Eagles used the defensive effort and 7 – 8 from the free throw line to take a 39 – 34 lead at halftime.
TFC created several turnovers from the Cougars and easy transition baskets to extend their lead into double digits shortly into the second half. The Eagles would win the turnover battle on the evening 30 – 13. With 10 minutes remaining in the game, TFC had built a 20 point lead. Though Clearwater attempted to turn up their own defensive pressure, the Eagles would not relent and hung on for a 94 – 79 victory.
Derek Westfall and Josh Barrett lead the Eagles in scoring with 19 points each. Freddie Harrell and John Sauls added 14 and 13 points, respectively. Fan favorite Adam Hitten came off the bench and scored 11 points on 4 – 7 shooting. Clearwater was led by Jonah Dew’s 20 points and 12 rebounds. Devin Paularinne added 19 points for the Cougars.
TFC will host region foe Trinity College on February 8 at 7:00. On February 9, the Eagles will host Johnson University at 4:00.
TFC Falls at Home
TFC men’s basketball hosted NCAA Division III Sewanee University on January 29. The Eagles played a physical, scrappy game on the defensive end, but were defeated 47 – 65.
The Sewanee Tigers used a motion offense and back screens to jump to an early double digit lead. The Eagles struggled to match the Tigers scoring rate, shooting just 24% from the floor in the first half. Conversely, the visiting Tigers shot 46% in the opening half. The Eagles poor shooting percentage and lack of defensive stops put the Eagles behind 17 – 36 at the half. The Tigers widened their lead to nearly 30 points before the Eagles adjusted to a zone defense. The intense zone forced Sewanee to settle for several long jump shots, including 1 – 13 from three point range in the second half. The improved defensive effort helped the Eagles to get within 13 points with 3:30 remaining in the game. However, despite outscoring Sewanee 30 – 29 in the half, TFC was unable to overcome the first half deficit and fell 47 – 65. “I keep saying it because it’s true. We’re young, but we’re getting better and growing up each game,” said Coach Jason Mehl.
TFC was led in scoring by sophomore Jon Sauls with 12 points. Sauls shot 4 -12 from behind the three point arc in the contest. Carlos Hamlett added 11 for the Eagles, and Josh Barrett contributed 10 points and four assists.
The Eagles will host region opponents Florida Christian College on Friday and Clearwater Christian College on Saturday. Friday’s contest against FCC will tip off at 7:00. On Saturday the men’s game will follow the Lady Eagles 1:00 game against Clearwater.
Eagles Split Conference Road Games
TFC traveled to Florida to face region opponents Trinity College and Florida Christian. The Eagles defeated Trinity College 78 – 41 on the road on January 25, but lost to Florida Christian College 45 – 87 on January 26.
In game one of their Florida road trip, the Eagles handled Trinity College of Florida with ease, 78 – 41. A four point Eagles lead at halftime exploded into a blowout victory behind three consecutive three point baskets by TFC’s Jon Sauls. TFC outscored Trinity 49 – 17 in the second half with 59% field goal shooting. Derek Westfall led the Eagles with 21 points and 9 rebounds. Jon Sauls and Josh Johnson each added 12 points. Josh Barrett lead the Eagles with 8 assists to go with his 9 points. Donavan Smith had a team high 10 rebounds and 8 points. Coach Jason Mehl spoke of the win as a whole team victory, “Everyone played and made quality contributions on offense and defense.”
The final stop on the road trip was against #3 ranked Florida Christian College Suns. FCC used physical, high pressure defense to take a double digit lead in the first half. To attempt a comeback, the Eagles were forced into three point attempts, but were unable to continue their hot shooting from the Trinity game. After shooting 47% from the field in their victory over Trinity College, the Eagles shot a lowly 27% against the Suns including just 4 – 20 from three point range. Josh Johnson lead the Eagles with 12 points. Josh Barrett and Carlos Hamlett each added 10 points.
By going 1 – 1 on the road trip, the Eagles improved their overall record to 4 – 17. The Eagles will host Sewanee University on Tuesday, January 28 before hosting two important conference games. Florida Christian’s return trip to TFC will be on Friday, February 1 at 7:00. The Eagles will also host conference rival Clearwater Christian College on February 2 at 3:00.
TFC Victorious at Home
The TFC Eagles hosted Georgia Northwestern Tech on Thursday. In their best shooting performance of the season, the Eagles were victorious 73 – 70.
After laminating their mischances in close losses over the course of the season, the Eagles put special emphasis on increasing their field goal percentage in hopes of changing tight losses into victories. In the first half against Georgia Northwestern the Eagles shot 45% from the field including 9 – 18 shooting from three point range. Georgia Northwestern matched TFC’s shooting, and shot 54% in the first half. The Eagles closed the physical first half with a 39 – 37 lead. To start the second period, TFC went on a 21 – 6 run to open a 60 – 43 lead. The visiting Bobcats increased their defensive pressure and cut the Eagles’ lead to single digits with less than 3 minutes remaining. Leading by 2, TFC’s Josh Barrett intercepted a full court pass from the Bobcats, was subsequently fouled and converted both free throws to increase the lead to four with less than a minute remaining. The Bobcats cut the lead to three, but ran out of time as a full court heave fell short as the buzzer sounded. With the 73 – 70 win, the Eagles snapped a 15 game losing streak. The Eagles finished the game with 47% shooting from the field.
Barrett led the Eagles’ in scoring with 23 points. Derek Westfall contributed 14 points and 7 rebounds. Jon Sauls had 14 points, and Carlos Hamlett added 10. Donavan Smith led the Eagles on the defensive end and helped the Eagles to win the turnover battle 21 – 11.
The Eagles will travel to Trinity College of Florida on Friday and to Florida Christian College on Saturday for region games. The Eagles will return home on January 29 to host Sewanee University at 8:00.
Eagles Fall Late to Bruins
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.
TFC Downed By Bob Jones
TFC traveled to Greenville, South Carolina, on January 12 to face the Bob Jones University Bruins. The Eagles could not hold a second half lead, and fell 61 – 53.
Bob Jones used defensive pressure and precise ball movement to jump to an early 11 – 3 lead over TFC. However, TFC’s Derek Westfall sank a pair of free throws with 11 minutes left in the opening period to cap an 8 – 2 scoring run by TFC, and bring the Eagles within 13 – 11. The teams would trade baskets until Bob Jones used a jumper as the first half expired to increased their lead to 26 – 19.
Back to back lay ups for TFC’s Billy Aristide started the second half and immediately closed BJU’s lead to three points. Josh Johnson’s jumper tied the game at 28 – 28 with 16:08 remaining, and Donavon Smith hit back to back three’s to give the Eagles their first lead of the game at 38 – 36. Following Smith’s baskets, the Eagles struggled from the floor and fell behind by as many as 10 points late in the second half. The Eagles were forced to send the Bruins to the free throw line in attempts to lengthen the game, but the Bruins hit the late free throws to seal the Eagles fate, 61 – 53.
Coach Jason Mehl said of his team’s defeat, “The story of our season is that we haven’t been putting together complete games. Against Bob Jones we played solid defense, but couldn’t execute offensively. We turned it over 20 times, many of those were unforced. And we missed half of our free throws. We’re young, but we should be further in our development than we are. It’s my job to turn that around.”
Leading the Eagles in scoring were John Sauls and Carlos Hamlett with 9 points each. Donavan Smith added 8 points and 8 rebounds, but his hustle on the defensive end was just as crucial for the Eagles. Derek Westfall contributed 7 for the Eagles. The Eagles will travel to Montreat College on Jan. 15 and Piedmont International University on Jan. 17 before hosting Piedmont International on January 19 at 3:00
Eagles Unable to Hold Late Lead
The men’s basketball team returned to the court on Thursday as they traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, to face Johnson and Wales University. The Eagles could not sustain a late lead, and fell to the Wildcats, 61 – 64.
In their first game of 2013, the long layoff was evident for the Eagles, and they fell behind 4 -19 in the early minutes of the game. As they have been all year, the Eagles were resilient, and closed the gap to just 30 – 34 at the half. TFC continued their first half momentum, and took their first lead of the game at 44 – 43 halfway into the second period. High percentage shooting and hustle on the defensive end grew the Eagles advantage to as many as 9 points with less than five minutes to play. The Wildcats converted on five consecutive possessions, forced the Eagles into turnovers and difficult field goal attempts, and retook the lead 62 – 60 with less than two minutes to play. Down 61 – 64 with 10 seconds remaining, the Eagles were fouled on a three point attempt, but were unable to convert from the free throw line. The missed opportunities ended the game in a 61 – 64 loss.
“It’s clear to me that we’re continuing to get better. Johnson and Wales is a talented and athletic team that can score, and it was great that we were able to come back from being down 19-4. We were able to keep their scoring in check and go up 9 points late in the second half,” Coach Mehl said of his team’s effort. “However, down the stretch, we failed to make the necessary plays to keep pressure on their defense, and they capitalized on our turnovers and missed shots and took the game back from us.”
Josh Barrett and Derek Westfall lead the Eagles in scoring with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Freddie Harrell scored 9 and grabbed 8 rebounds for TFC.
The Lady Eagles will join the men on the road on Saturday, as both teams travel to Greenville, South Carolina, to face the Bob Jones Bruins. The Lady Eagles will tip off at 2:00, and the men’s game will follow. The first home game of the new semester will be on January 15 when the Lady Eagles host Northland International University at 5:00.
TFC Downed By NCAA Opponent
The Toccoa Falls College Eagles traveled to Conway, South Carolina, to face NCAA division one opponent, Coastal Carolina University on December 13. The Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina have participated in the NIT national tournament for two of the last three seasons. TFC held their own in the mismatch for large portions of the game, but fell in the end, 38 – 75.
TFC planned to slow the game’s tempo and allow time to run off the clock before attacking the basket. Their game plan was successful in the opening minutes of the game as TFC was behind 17 – 15 with 8 minutes left in the first half. The slow tempo, however, did not affect the Eagles shooting. TFC’s Josh Barrett hit three of TFC’s five three point shots in the opening half. Barrett led the Eagles with 11 points in the half. As a team, the Eagles shot 44%, and played their best half of basketball of the season. A 13 – 5 run by Coastal Carolina to end the half pushed the deficit to 34 -25 at the half.
The Eagles were unable to keep the game close in the second half. The Chanticleers forced the Eagles into turnovers and capitalized on the transition points. When the Eagles were patient in their shot selection, they struggled to convert. The Eagles shot just 18% from the floor in the second half. Second half turnovers and cold shooting doomed the Eagles in their upset bid, and were defeated 38 – 75.
Coach Jason Mehl was very proud of his team’s effort. “I hope we realize what we can do when we are on the same page. This was a great way to close the first half of the season.”
Josh Barrett finished the game 4 – 8 shooting from three point range, and led the Eagles with 20 points. Freddie Harrell contributed with 6 rebounds and 5 points for the Eagles. TFC will not play again until after the Christmas break. On January 10,TFC will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina for a game against Johnson and Wales. The Lady Eagles will join the men in Greenville, South Carolina, on January 12 to face Bob Jones University.
Eagles Drop Conference Road Games
Toccoa Falls College men’s basketball team traveled to Florida on November 30 – December 1 to take on region opponents Clearwater Christian College and Trinity Baptist College. The Eagles dropped both games on the road trip, and fell to 2 – 8 on the season.
In the first game of the weekend, TFC was hosted by Clearwater Christian College (3 – 5). The first half opened with a fast tempo, in which both teams attempted to set the tone. TFC’s Josh Barrett hit four three-pointers in the opening minutes, but midway through the opening half, CCC held a slight 39 – 38 lead. Several unforced errors from the Eagles allowed easy transition points for the Cougars, who extended their lead to 55 – 46 at the halftime whistle. The fast tempo, turnovers by the Eagles, and poor transition defense gave the Cougars all they needed in the second half to come away with the 21 point win, 111 – 90. Coach Jason Mehl identified the area in which his team needs to improve, “We’ve obviously got the ability to put points on the board, but we’ve got to be more effective at stopping opponents from doing what they want.”
The Eagles ended the road trip in Jacksonville, Florida, against undefeated Trinity Baptist College (6-0). Trinity’s defensive zone and three quarters court pressure disrupted TFC’s offensive flow. The defensive pressure forced 16 first half turnovers, and the TFC Eagles found themselves down at the half, 40 – 23. LaVargio Ellis, Josh Johnson and Adam Hiten gave TFC good defensive energy and closed the gap to 10 in the second half. Trinity Baptist once again turned up the defensive pressure to pull away, 87-66. For the Eagles, Josh Barrett and Josh Johnson each scored 15 points, and Ellis added 10. Barrett also had six assists. Derek Westfall led the Eagles with 13 rebounds in the loss.
The Eagles will host Montreat College on December 6. TFC’s final games before the Christmas break will be on December 7 – 8 at Sewanee University in Tennessee as they face Oglethorpe University and Sewanee.
TFC Defeats Johnson University, 97-65
The TFC Eagles traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, to face Johnson University on November 10. Coming off their first loss of the year and facing an opponent that has been very competitive in the past, TFC’s young team answered the challenges and defeated Johnson 97-65.
TFC dictated the tempo of the first half by utilizing their full court pressure. The intense defense from the Eagles forced Johnson into poor shot selections, and enabled the Eagles to establish their tempo. TFC opened a double digit lead with inside points that came from the Eagles’ furious pace in the game. By converting defensive pressure into offensive points, the Eagles took a 45-25 half time lead. To open the second half, Johnson settled on offense and reduced the deficit to 14 points with 8 minutes left in the game. The Eagles once again turned up the pressure, and pulled away for the 32 point victory.
All nine of TFC players scored in the win. Forward Billy Aristide and guard Josh Johnson led a balanced attack with 25 points each. Josh Johnson hit five threes pointers. Carlos Hamlett had 13, Derek Westfall had 11, and Josh Barrett added 10.
Coach Jason Mehl said of his team’s effort, “It was nice to see guys bounce back from the North Greenville loss, and play a game where we dictated the pace. We accomplished what we wanted at both ends of the floor.”
The Eagles will host Bob Jones University on Tuesday night in their first home game of the season. The Lady Eagles will tip off against BJU at 5:00, and the men’s game will follow.
Eagles Suffer First Loss of the Season
TFC’s men’s basketball team traveled to Greenville, South Carolina, to face the North Greenville Crusaders on November 9. The Eagles (2-1) played well against the NCAA Division II Crusaders (1-0), but fell 110-79.
The Eagles began the game with good energy and focus. TFC found Billy Aristide inside early, and hit a few threes to jump to a 19-13 lead seven minutes into the game. NGU answered with a 19-3 run to take a 10-point lead. The home side maintained that lead at halftime, 46-36. TFC cut the lead to six to start the second half, but the Crusaders answered the challenge again with heavy pressure on the ball. The increased defensive pressure derailed TFC’s offense, and forced the Eagles into turnovers and poor shot selections. NGU used TFC’s errors to their advantage, and converted an 18-2 run. The change in momentum was too much for the Eagles to overcome, and TFC lost 110-79.
Coach Jason Mehl said, “I was pleased with the way we played against bigger and stronger guys. We let them go on two big runs because we made some bad decisions and gave up some offensive rebounds. Those are things we can fix in future games. I never had a reason to doubt our effort all night.”
Josh Barrett led the team in scoring with 17 points. Billy Aristide scored 15 and grabbed 13 rebounds. Freddie Harrell and Josh Johnson had 12 points each.
TFC’s first home games of the season will be played on November 13 against Bob Jones Bruins. The Lady Eagles will tip off at 5:00 and the men will follow at 7:00.
New Look Eagles Begin Season 1-0
The TFC Eagles basketball team opened their 2012-2013 season with a road win over Georgia Northwestern Technical College on Friday. The new look Eagles return only two starters from last season’s squad; neither of whom were at full strength for the opening game. Additionally, the victory was TFC’s first game under new coach, Jason Mehl. With only 7 players available, the opening game of the season would be a physical and mental test for the Eagles.
TFC took the lead off the opening tip, and never relinquished the advantage. TFC freshman Carlos Hamlett hit two early threes and helped the Eagles establish a double-digit, first half lead. The lead, which would extend as wide as 14 points in the first half, could be credited to the Eagles patient offensive discipline. The Bobcats of Georgia Northwestern played a conservative zone that allowed the Eagles to remain patient and be selective with their shots. Conversely, TFC’s Josh Johnson and the rest of the Eagles’ guards pressured the Bobcats’ ball handlers and contested each entry pass to the low post. TFC’s patience on the offense end and swarming defensive pressure helped TFC to end the half with a 31-23 lead. Hamlett led the Eagles in the opening half with 12 perimeter points. Derek Westfall added 9 from the interior.
The inexperience of the Eagles was revealed for moments in the second half. An uninspired effort in the opening minutes of the second half allowed the Bobcats to slowly close the gap. With just 7 minutes remaining in the game, the Eagles’ once double digit lead had been reduced to just two points. TFC was able to tighten their defense, and rebuilt the lead to nine points at the final whistle. Hamlett finished with a team high 18 points. Westfall contributed 17 points and 7 rebounds. Billy Aristide and Freddie Harell each grabbed 8 boards for the Eagles. Harell also added 8 points from his point guard position. First year coach Jason Mehl said after the win, “I was very proud of how all of our guys stepped up. We played hard and smart even though we were undermanned. That says a lot for a young team playing its first game on the road.”
TFC will travel to NCAA Division II North Greenville University for a non-region game next Saturday, November 9. The first home games of the new season will be on November 13 against Bob Jones University. The Lady Eagles will tip off against the Bob Jones Bruins at 5:00, and the men’s game will follow at 7:00.
TFC Defeats Alumni, 82-64
TFC basketball officially kicked off a new season with their annual alumni exhibition game on October 12. The Friday night game opened the homecoming activities, and was well attended by those who return to campus. The Eagles have only had a week of practice to create team chemistry and install a new system under first year coach Jason Mehl. In an exciting game in which the alumni team showed resilient effort, the current team of Eagles defeated the alumni, 82-64.
With 12 new players, the game tipped off with the usual excitement and energy. The Eagles were able to grow a 17 point lead in the first half, though the alumni closed the margin to 13 points at the intermission. Shortly after the intermission, the alumni rallied and got within striking distance. However, the alumni team grew fatigued and hot shooting from the Eagles dismissed any hopes the alumni had of an upset. TFC’s Jon Sauls helped to bury the alumni. Sauls hit three consecutive three point shots to return TFC’s lead to double digits. The lead would increase in the final minutes, and TFC finished the game, 82-64.
Billy Aristide led the Eagles with 22 points in the game. Cam Williams contributed with 15, and Sauls added 12. Jachin Wettstone (class of 2009) scored 22 points for the alumni team.
TFC will begin the regular season on November 2 at Northwest Georgia Tech in Rome, Georgia. The home opener will be on November13 as the Eagles host Bob Jones University at 7:00.
Alumni Scrimmage, Homecoming 2012
Any alumni planning to return for Friday’s Alumni Scrimmage, please send an email to Coach Mehl (email@example.com) so we know how many players to expect and can plan accordingly.
There will be an open tryout for the TFC Men’s Basketball Team on Sept. 14 at 4:00 in the gym. There will be an information meeting regarding the tryout on Sept. 12 at 4:00 in the gym. Anyone interested in playing basketball for TFC this season MUST attend and participate in both the meeting and tryout.
Men’s Basketball Program Announces Prospective Player Workout Dates
The Toccoa Falls College men’s basketball program will be holding three workout dates this Spring for prospective players. The dates for these workouts are March 24, April 14, and May 5. All workouts will start at 10:00 a.m. and players are encouraged to bring a copy of their academic transcripts and SAT/ACT scores. If you have any questions you can email Coach Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.