Men's basketball team plays for state championship at 7:30 p.m.

Men's basketball team plays for state championship at 7:30 p.m.

For the fourth time in the past seven years, the Eastern Florida State College men's basketball team is playing for the FCSAA/NJCAA Region VIII State Championship tonight in Ocala.

The 18th-ranked Titans will face No. 8 Northwest Florida State College in the finals at the College of Central Florida in Ocala. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the game can be seen live online.

The two teams have split in the past two meetings in the state tournament with the Titans beating them in the semifinals in 2016-17 and Northwest Florida winning the championship in 2014-15.

Northwest Florida came back from a 19-point deficit in the second half to send No. 1 Florida Southwestern home 69-68 in the semifinals behind Chris Duarte's 24-point night. Duarte comes into the championship game averaging 19 points per game this season while teammate Javion Hamlet averages 17.

The Titans defense which was No. 4 in the nation heading into the tournament held Chipola College to its lowest scoring output of the season, advanced with a 69-62 win.

Offensively, Jalen Warren and Ayo Dada lead the way with Warren averaging 18 points and Dada averaging 15.5.

The Titans have been to the championship game every other season under Shulman but are looking for their first state championship. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas beginning March 18.

Tickets to the championship game in Ocala are $10 for adults and $6 for students.