The Polk State Eagles soared to their third straight win tonight, beating Central Florida 83-81 on Bing Tyus Night.
The Eagles led 45-41 at halftime, which featured a tribute to Tyus, who is retiring after 35 years as a coach and athletic director at Polk State.
Although the Eagles never trailed in the second half, they never led by more than six points.
Down 83-81 with five seconds to play, Central Florida had the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead but failed to take a shot as time expired.
Tekorian "TK" Smith led the Eagles with 23 points.
"I think we came up big defensively tonight," said Head Coach Brandon Giles.
"I called a time out with four minutes to go in the game, and I said, 'If we get three stops in a row then we'll win the game.' So they go out and we get four in a row and we win the ballgame.
"A lot of credit goes to Central Florida tonight. They're another tough team to prepare for. Traditionally, they're good and they're well-coached."
Giles is pleased with the progress the Eagles have made at this point in the season.
"Our defensive intensity has really picked up lately and that's been a big part of our success," he said.
"I'm just proud of our guys. We're learning a lot about ourselves, about our team, and we're starting to be able to finish ballgames.
"And my hat always goes off to my assistant coaches for what they do in preparation for our opponents."
Polk State (5-6) returns to action Saturday with a noon game against Indian River (9-2, No. 7 FCSAA) in the JUCO Shootout in Ocala.