The Polk State Eagles soared to their third straight win today, beating State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota 75-63 in Winter Haven.
With the victory, the Eagles improve to 3-3 and third place in the Suncoast Conference.
After falling behind 14-7 seven minutes into the game, the Eagles rallied for a 33-29 lead at halftime.
The came out strong in the second half, scoring seven unanswered point to take a 40-29 lead.
The Manatees fought back to a 50-49 advantage, but Kareem Chever-Moore hit two three-pointers, Quinton Hamilton made a layup, and Chever-Moore sank another three, giving the Eagles a 60-50 lead, which they never relinquished.
"It's always good to be on a winning streak going into a tough matchup like we have on Wednesday against Florida Southwestern," said Head Coach Brandon Giles.
"You always want to go into those type of games with some momentum. We're going to celebrate this win tonight, but we'll immediately moving on to Florida Southwestern and try to see what we can do to be successful in that game."
Quinton Hamilton battles for two of his 10 points against SCF, Manatee-Sarasota. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)
Considering the team's struggles earlier in the season, Giles said the recent wins feel especially good.
"They do and a lot of is because of our sophomores stepping up big. We were on them early in the season about that and now they're starting to click and step up at the right time when it really matters in conference play.
"I'm extremely proud of our sophomores, especially Kareem Chever-Moore tonight. He was big time for us on both ends of the floor.
"He took his matchup against the region's leading scorer [Andre Jackson] very personally. He said before the game, 'He's not scoring when he gets the ball on me' and he really did not score. He scored a very limited amount of times when Kareem was guarding him, so that was big time."
Walt Covington led the Eagles with 17 points. He shot 4-for-4 at the free-throw line and grabbed six rebounds.
Hamilton led all players in rebounds with seven. He also scored 10 points.
Milz Tatum finished with 16 points, making eight out of 10 free throws. He also had five assists.
Chever-Moore recorded 14 points, sinking four out of six three-point shots.
Kadeem Webb hit three from beyond the arc, finishing with nine points.
The Eagles (6-17, 3-3) face Florida Southwestern (No. 2 FCSAA, No. 5 NJCAA) Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Winter Haven.