Raiders Survive First Tournament Test By A Point

In a high-stakes game, the Raiders fought hard against Florida Southwestern, showcasing resilience and determination despite shooting struggles. Led by standout performances from Jamal Sumlin and Rasheed Jones, they clinched a narrow victory, securing their spot in the next round of the tournament against Eastern Florida State College.

Tonight – the Raiders played for their future. 

Not just on the court, though they are the #4 seed in an eight-team tournament – they are also playing for the chance at the next level. Filling seats across Raider Arena, scouts from Georgia Southern, Charlotte, Troy, Winthrop, Samford, Murray State, Ball State, NIU, North Dakota, and Campbell came out to watch their future players duke it out for a spot in the National Tournament – and on their team. 

The top player’s coaches were looking at in this game were Rasheed Jones and Jamal Sumlin from NWFSC and Jaeshon Thomas Dezdrick Lindsay on FSW. 

First Half – Slow Start for the Raiders

Florida Southwestern would win the tip-off and drain a three-off pick to start the game hot. The Raiders didn’t have such great luck early, but stalwart defense would keep the Raiders close throughout the half. 

Florida Southwestern’s head ball coach, Eric Murphy, would get an early technical foul – but the Raiders wouldn’t convert the coach’s bad behavior off the court into points on the scoreboard. 

The Raiders’ shooting woes would not end until the last five minutes of the half – after a smoking hot run outside of the arc from Southwestern’s Jaeshon Thomas. He’d hit two from outside the arc to get some daylight between the two teams. 

A rough, uncalled charge on Gibralter-like defensive rock Jadyn Shider that turned into a foul for Southwestern added a touch more distance between the two teams. 

That space wouldn’t last for long, though. 

Redshirt Freshman Guard Jamal Sumlin fought back to get the points and the foul in the paint, moving the Raiders to within striking distance before the half ended.

Rasheed Jones lit the spark, though. He dropped a hammer of a three-pointer in front of the Bucs bench and hopped backward, making eye contact with every player and coach Muprhy before getting back on defense. 

Tajuan Simpkins would follow Jones with a mighty stride into the paint and a finishing move that looked like ballet on the court. 

FSW would smack one home to keep a slight lead over the Raiders at the half. 35-32. 

Second Half

The Raiders would head back onto the court with smiles on their faces, looking relaxed. After a short shootaround, the teams switched sides and started play. 

halfway through the second – NWFSCs mid range jumper came through for the Raiders. 

two stupendous steals from Tavion Banks woudl set up the raiders to take the lead – but shoddy free throw shooting (57% on the night) would do a couple of favors for the Bucs. 

Banks would continue to hammer away from the paint – netting a total of 16 points on the night and several statement dunks on the way to the wire. 

called a foul with a minute left. Florida Southwestern’s #0 Tyrone Baker got both of them and tied the ballgame. 

A missed shot gave possession back to Southwestern. They would call a timeout with just 28 seconds left on the clock and a chance to advance on the line.

The Raiders didn’t quit. The defense that kept the team in the game came up one last time to give the Raiders an advantage. Pressure on a center forced a turnover and gave the Raiders a turnover with just 15 seconds left on the clock. 

A shooting foul with just two seconds left on RaSheed Jones sent him to the line. He made one of two free throws to close the game. 

A last second heave by Florida Southwestern would prove futile. 

The Raiders will play again on Friday afternoon. The face tough competition in the #1 Seed Eastern Florida State College. 


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