Polk State started Suncoast Conference play tonight with a 72-61 win over State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota in Winter Haven.
Playing before an enthusiastic crowd, the Eagles built a 37-24 lead at halftime.
The Manatees, however, went on a run early in the second half, cutting the lead to 42-40 at the 13-minute mark.
They would get no closer though as the Eagles held their ground. They increased their lead to 10 points with two minutes left when Bernard Samuel hit a three-point shot.
Samuel led Polk State with 19 points.
"We did let them get a little run in the second half when we let them attack the middle on us. We also took some bad shots and had some turnovers, but it was nice to see us hold our composure. We got some good stops on defense, and we got back to the game plan of working the basketball and getting it inside."
Furjanic said the home crowd helped motivate the team.
"I hope we can get more crowds like we did tonight. We want to thank everybody for coming because having that support motivates us."
The Eagles (16-6, 1-0) hit the road Saturday for a 4 p.m. game at Hillsborough Community College.