The Titans men’s team opened their conference schedule on Saturday, January 7, against Polk
State with an 81-76 win. Andres Burney led the way for EFSC with a 30-point, 16 rebound
performance. It was the eighth double-double for him this season. He scored 10 of the first 12
points for his team.
Four of the five EFSC starters Caleb Byrd (18), Brandon Garcia (16), and Eric Parnell (10).
Polk State would weather the storm and lead 34-29 at the end of the first half. A 13-2 run gave
the Titans a 53-53 lead and they would use a 10-3 lead later in the half to extend their lead to
eight points with 5:32 left. Garcia scored 13 of his points in the second half, keeping the Titans
up on the scoreboard. The Titans would win the second half 52-42. The victory was the 11th of
the season for Eastern Florida, who out rebounded Polk State 48-22.
Burney’s performance in this game earned him the Region 8 Men’s Basketball Player of the
Week, which was announced on Tuesday afternoon. He followed that up with another accolade,
when he was named the NJCAA Division I Basketball Player of the Week on Wednesday.
The Titans returned to the court Wednesday night to take on Santa Fe College and came away
with their second Central Conference win of the season, by the score of 76-65.
EFSC (12-5, 2-0) led 42-28 at the half, but Sante Fe battled back in the second half and took
the lead seven minutes into the second half. It didn’t last long, as Harry Sosa and Parnell hit
back-to-back threes to give their team a 67-60 lead. They would hold the Saints off from there
and put the finishing touches on their third straight win.
Parnell hit six 3-pointers for a career-high 18 points and Sosa hit four of six threes to finish with
12 points. Jaden Witter-Watts had his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10
rebounds, while Garcia finished with 18 points. Burney followed his POTW award with 14 points
and eight rebounds. Owen Aquino finished with a season-high 15 rebounds.
The sixth-ranked women’s team played Sante Fe on Wednesday as well, and came away with a
dominating 84-62 win. The Saints led this one early, but a 7-0 spurt by the Titans got it down to
two. Sante Fe would jump out to a nine-point lead, but a 13-0 run by EFSC would give them
their first lead. They would be up 45-41 at the halftime break.
The Titans (17-1, 1-0) started the third scoring eight straight points. They did not look back,
thumping the Saints 18-5 in the third quarter. They would outscore the home team 21-16 in the
fourth and roll to their 17th win of the season. This was their first conference win.
L’or Eyeba Mputu finished with a season-high 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Leilani
Guion finished with 15 points and 10 assists, while Madlena Gerke had 13 and Amelia Hassett
had 12 points.
The women return home for a Central Conference game against Daytona State College at 2:00
p.m. That will be followed by the Men’s game which will tip off around 4:00 p.m.