OCALA-- The College of Central Florida men's basketball team was unable to make enough plays late to handle Eastern Florida State in a battle of state tournament teams from a year ago.
In the first meeting between the two teams since the 2013 state championship game, CF saw Brandon Tabb score its final 17 points, but a 9-0 run by the Titans gave them the lead for good on their way to a 77-70 win at Patriot Gym.
Tabb led all scorers with 25 points, 22 after halftime, but CF never got closer than three after EFS (6-1) went on its 9-0 run.
After Tabb's sixth 3-pointer of the second half, the Patriots were down 72-68 with 53.6 seconds left.
The Titans, though, scored the next five points and defeated CF in just the third meeting between the two schools over the last six seasons.
Tabb finished 7-of-12 from 3-point range, while Terrell Rogers dropped in 20 for the Patriots, thanks to 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.
As a team, CF made 13-of-29 from 3-point range, however, it struggled to get much going on the interior.
CF, which was coming off a 76-73 win over Hillsborough on Friday night, used an 11-1 run midway through the first half and took a 34-31 lead into halftime.
The Titans trailed by as many as six after halftime, but answered with a 10-0 run and went up by seven with 12:41 left.
From there, back-to-back 3-pointers by Rogers got CF to within one and EFS appeared to be in trouble.
The visitors responded with nine straight points and never let the Patriots get closer than three points the rest of the way.
Kyle Meyer led EFS with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Daishon Smith scored 14 and Payton Hulsey added 12.
The Titans made 20-of-28 free throws, compared to just 9-of-11 for CF.
EFS also held a 13-2 edge in second-chance points and outrebounded the Patriots 41-36.
CF was also outscored 27-15 in bench scoring by the Titans.
Aside from Tabb and Rogers, Amir Warnock grabbed eight rebounds, while Migue Reyes dished out five assists and Diamonte Lewis contributed seven points.
The Patriots are on the road tomorrow versus St. Petersburg at 7 p.m. They will then head to Georgia for a two-game series this weekend against East Georgia College and South Georgia State.