MELBOURNE, Fla. – Three Dragons scored over 20 points as Tiffin men's basketball held on down the stretch to defeat the Embry-Riddle Eagles 99-95 on Tuesday afternoon.
The win in game one of the Florida Tech Winter Classic improves TU's record to 4-7 on the season.
The Dragons finished shooting 57% from the field and outrebounded the Eagles 38-33. Tiffin had a large advantage in the paint, outscoring E-R 58-38, and led for the majority of the contest.
Joshua Williams led the way with 27, while Shane Waldon had a career-high 25 on 12-15 shooting and Austin Adams added 22 on 9-12 shooting including 2-2 from beyond the arc. Austin Schaub equaled his career-high with 18 points while also pulling down six boards.
Tiffin was able to go up early, taking an 11-6 lead at the first media timeout after Joshua Williams knocked down a step-back triple and followed with a slick spin move to create space in the lane and lay the ball in over 6'9" defender Luka Majstorovic.
Tiffin shot a blistering 60.5% (23-38) in the opening 20 minutes, as Williams (15), Adams (13), and Shane Waldon (10) were all in double figures.
Thanks in part to a few Dragon turnovers, Embry-Riddle battled back to take a 67-66 advantage for their first lead since midway through the first-half. However, Austin Schaub provided the answer on the other end, knocking down a three with a hand in his face to put Tiffin back up two with 12:40 to go.
The Eagles responded with a layup to tie it at 69, but Waldon came back with seven straight points on a right-handed hook, old-fashioned three-point play, and a layup to give the Dragons a 76-69 lead with just under ten minutes to play.
Embry-Riddle quickly erased the deficit, however, thanks to back-to-back triples from Tylin Lockett-Fuller. The teams traded blows over the next six minutes, reaching the final media timeout at the 3:40 mark tied at 88 apiece.
Trailing 92-89 with just over two minutes remaining, Williams converted a tough driving layup while being knocked to the floor and Adams followed on the next possession with a bucket in the lane to retake the lead at 93-92. A Schaub free throw and wide-open Williams layup on a broken press put the Dragons up four with ten seconds to play, and a late three by the Eagles would not be enough as Tiffin held on for the 99-95 victory.
Tiffin will turn around and play game two of the trip down south tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. against host Florida Tech.