Cottrill’s basket gives Eagles come-from-behind win

Teammates congratulate Elijah Cottrill after his basket gave the Eagles a 73-72 win. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)
Teammates congratulate Elijah Cottrill after his basket gave the Eagles a 73-72 win. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)

With Polk State trailing by a point with eight seconds left to play, Elijah Cottrill drove to the hoop for the game-winning basket in a 73-72 win over Florida State College at Jacksonville tonight in Winter Haven. 

With 1.5 seconds left on the clock, the Blue Wave inbounded the ball but could not take a shot as time expired. 

After the Eagles took an early 2-0 lead they fell behind and ended the first half down 42-33. 

Four times in the second half the Eagles pulled to within two points of the Blue Wave. With Polk State down by two points with 12 seconds remaining, Darelle Porter was fouled and made two free throws to cut the lead to 72-71. 

The Eagles immediately fouled, sending FSC to the line with eight seconds left. The Blue Wave missed the front end of a one-and-one, the Eagles rebounded the missed shot, and Cottrill drove the length of the court for the winning shot. 

"Elijah's shot at the end was his choice," said Head Coach Matt Furjanic. "We told him to penetrate and either kick it out or take the shot. You like to see your sophomore point guard step up and want to take the shot. That's the kind of player you want. I'm very proud of him."  

Dominique Reid led the Eagles with 16 points. 

"I thought Reid played an excellent second half. He battled inside, and he got some big rebounds," said Furjanic. 

Dayjar Dickson scored 15. Cottrill added 12 points, and Troy Simons contributed 10. 

"The last two minutes we did well," said Furjanic. "I thought the first half kind of carried over from Tuesday night's disappointing loss and the way we played. It seemed like we didn't get much energy in the first half where we could create some runs. I thought our defense wasn't very good. 

"We gave up 41 points. I told the players at halftime that if we're going to give up 41 again we'll need 52 to win the game, and that's not going to happen. 

"So we needed defense, and the guys really came through with about 14 minutes to go. They really competed and hung in there down the stretch. As a group everyone came together, and the bench was into it, and we made some big defensive stops when we had to.

"It's nice to get a win with a good learning experience, so I'm really pleased with the way the guys came through together at the end. I'm really pleased about this win." 

The Eagles (4-1, No. 6 FCSAA) travel to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game at Broward College.

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