Playing their final regular-season home contest, Polk State basketball's five sophomores started the game together and led the Eagles to a 74-59 win over State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota today in Winter Haven.
"They earned that opportunity," said Head Coach Matt Furjanic. "When I mentioned it to the players on Thursday, they were all for it. They were all excited and said, 'Let's go sophomores!' That shows we have a great bunch of guys who support each other.
"Jean Remy Esor started the game really well, and so did Kareem Harris. I was really pleased to see two sophomores step up like that."
Polk State took a 3-0 lead after the opening tip-off and never trailed. The Eagles led 40-24 at halftime.
Samuel had 17 points, while Darelle Porter recorded 12, and Esor had a season-high 10.
"It was a great team effort in the first half," said Furjanic. "In the second half I thought we maybe didn't play as hard as we should have, but we got the win.
"We played real strong down the stretch, and we had a good defensive effort. I was pleased with how the guys responded.
The Eagles (21-8, 6-2) play their final regular-season game Feb. 18 at St. Petersburg College.
Polk State will play the Suncoast Conference championship game Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Winter Haven.
The Eagles will face the winner of the Feb. 21 contest between Hillsborough Community College and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. The winner of the championship game will advance to the state tournament, which starts March 4 in Ocala.