OCALA--Northwest Florida State College became the first men's program since 2008-09 to win the NJCAA Region 8 championship, as it knocked off Tallahassee Community College 81-76 on Saturday night.
The Raiders (26-5), ranked No. 12 nationally, kept their hopes alive for a second consecutive NJCAA National Championship, as they knocked off the Eagles (21-12) for the third time in four meetings this season.
Jeromy Rodriguez's tip-in with 5:26 left in the game put NWFS ahead for good at 64-63.
The tip-in was part of an 8-0 run, which included a pair of technical fouls against TCC and six straight free throws by the Raiders.
NWFS made 12-of-16 free throws over the final five minutes, as it rallied from down six in the final eight minutes.
Jared Wilson-Frame scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half on his way to earning tournament MVP for the Raiders.
Wilson-Frame scored 94 points in four games against TCC and ended the tournament with 55 points.
Shadell Millinghaus (15 points, seven rebounds) joined Wilson-Frame on the all-tournament for NWFS.
Daryl Edwards (14 points, five rebounds), Moustapha Diagne (nine points, four rebounds) and Rodriguez (11 rebounds) led the way for the Raiders.
NWFS made 27-of-38 free throws in the win, including 19-of-27 after halftime.
The Raiders finished with a 47-34 rebounding edge, aided by a 20-10 margin on the offensive end.
NWFS survived 23 turnovers and a 4-of-22 effort from 3-point range to become the first team since Chipola since 08-09 to win two consecutive titles.
In the win, the Raiders also finished with a 21-7 edge in bench scoring.
Rashad Lewis led TCC with 20 points and set the tournament record with 17 3-pointers made.
Lewis surpassed the previous record of 16 set by Derrick Sharp of Eastern Florida State in 1991.
For the tournament, Lewis made 17-of-33, thanks to a 6-of-12 mark on Saturday.
Daishon Smith (15 points, nine rebounds, six assists), David Simmons (14 points, six assists) and Deion Bute (14 points, six rebounds) paced TCC.
The Eagles made 9-of-27 from 3-point range and finished the tournament 30-of-82 from beyond the arc.