The Polk State College Eagles won tonight's Suncoast Conference Tournament championship game, beating the State College of Florida Manatees 88-57 in Winter Haven.
With the victory, Polk State extends its season and advances to the FCSAA/NJCAA Region VIII Men's Basketball Tournament next week. The Eagles will play Eastern Florida State March 5 in Ocala.
After the Manatees scored the game's first two points on foul shots, the Eagles went ahead when Kareem Harris hit a three-pointer. Polk State never surrendered that lead, controlling the pace of the game at both ends of the court. The Eagles enjoyed a 40-17 advantage at halftime and continued to apply defensive pressure in the second half.
"This was definitely one of our better games of the season," said Matt Furjanic, Polk State head coach. "Our players did a real good job defensively. The guys really rose to the occasion."
Looking ahead to next week's game, Furjanic said, "Anything can happen in the state tournament. Everybody wants to play in March. We'll take it one game at a time and see how far we can go."
In tonight's game, Polk State sophomore forward Jamal Evans lead all scorers with 21 points. He also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Freshman forward Deonte Hearns lead the Manatees with 18 points.