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National Team of the Week: NW Florida State

By Cody Hopkins, 01/30/23, 2:00PM EST


Location: Niceville, FL
Enrollment: 17,212
2022-23 Record: 18-6
Head Coach: Steve Demeo

Week in Review: 
Won at Tallahassee CC 69-67
Won vs Chipola 63-53

Last year’s National Champion Northwest Florida State had a rocky start to defending their crown, but lately, the Raiders have gotten back to their winning ways.  Faced with the daunting task of traveling to #3 Tallahassee on Wednesday & hosting #5 Chipola on Saturday, NWF found a way to finish one of its best weeks in the regular season in program history by winning both contests.  For that, they are this week's JucoRecruiting Team of The Week.  

The pair of Raider wins this week offered up revenge from each previous meeting that saw Northwest fall to 0-2 in Panhandle play after losing at Chipola on January 7th, and at home vs Tallahassee on Wednesday, January 11th.  The Panhandle conference offers up a unique schedule of some of the top powerhouse programs in the country facing off weekly & this season is no different.  

In Tallahassee, the Raiders started the game off with a 26-9 lead early in the first half & kept distance throughout the contest until the final minutes when things got tense for both squads.  Despite 34 points from Tallahassee’s Addison Patterson, Northwest’s Marcus Niblack was able to secure key free throws down the stretch, holding off the Eagle's furious rally.  The Raiders were led in scoring by 6’10 Boise St transfer Kasean Pryor who finished with 16 points, and 9 rebounds.  McNeese St transfer Collin Warren & New Mexico transfer Taryn Todd each totaled 13 points in the win.  

With half of the gauntlet week behind them, Coach Demeo would then host a previously undefeated Chipola Indian team that won their first contest in Marianna by a score of 75-74, but the Indians controlled most of the game until a furious NWF rally in the final moments.  The second time around the Raiders proved to be much better on the defensive end opening up a 24-15 point halftime lead, and holding the Indians to 4-16 FGA in the first half.  Kasean Pryor once again led the Raiders with 18 pts, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.  The forward has been one of the most consistent performers in the country and was a huge part of the team's success this week.  6’7 freshman Tavion Banks gave the Raiders a lift off the bench to finish with 14 points, just off his career high of 17 also versus Chipola in their previous matchup.  

Northwest Florida (18-6, 4-2) will have a bye on Wednesday before taking the court on Saturday, February 4th vs. Pensacola State College at 4:00 PM. In the first matchup, the Raiders came away with a 73-67 road win.

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