Eagles' Move Into Tie for First Place With Victory
The eighth-ranked Polk State College men's basketball team notched a crucial victory Saturday with an 81-78 intense victory over seventh-ranked State College of Florida (22-7/5-3) at the Winter Haven Health Center.
The win puts the Eagles (20-9/5-3) and Manatees in a tie for first place in the Suncoast Conference.
Dauda tallied a double-double by adding 12 rebounds. He also posted four blocked shots.
Freshman Bernard Samuel (Charleston, S.C.) added 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
Freshman Nafis Walker (Philadelphia) recorded 13 points, four rebounds and five assists.
With two hobbling players on the court and despite shooting 6-for-17 in the game's final three minutes, the Eagles (20-9/5-3) held on against the Manatees who are ranked second in the country in scoring average at 98.9 points per game.
"It was a very satisfying win," said Polk State College coach Matt Furjanic. "I'm proud of the way we attacked the basket. Our guards did a great job of attacking the paint, which made their players come up and help and we dished off. It really opened up an inside and outside game for us."
The Eagles had lost their last two games and fell to the Manatees in their last meeting by 16 points in a contest where they were out-rebounded by 15 boards.
The Eagles led the Manatees 38-37 at the half Saturday, however, the Manatees went on a run and led 54-49 with 10:48 left in the contest.
Polk lost guard Brock VanLier to a knee injury with 9:17 left in the contest.
Polk's Samuel made up for the loss, scoring 11 of his 14 points in the game's final nine minutes.
In addition, point guard Ralph Simmons (Charleston, S.C.) was playing with an injured thumb and a heavy heart. Simmons had taken a bus to Charleston and back in two days to attend the funeral of his aunt, whom he lived with for two years. He returned to Orlando at 8 a.m. Saturday.
"He could hardly dribble," Furjanic said. "He just showed a lot of guts."
The Eagles play St. Petersburg on the road Wednesday.