LAKELAND, Fla. - JaVoris Cooks and Johnnel Ginnie each scored 16 points as Thomas took down No. 7 Southeastern (Fla.), 74-70, on Thursday evening in Sun Conference (TSC) action. The Night Hawks end a five-game losing streak inside The Furnace and improve to 2-1 this season, 5-2 in their last seven regular-season games and 3-1 in their last four regular-season road games against Top 25 opponents.
Thursday's win was the highest ranked opponent the Night Hawks had defeated since taking out former conference member, then-No. 2 Embry-Riddle (Fla.), 77-70, inside TU Gymnasium on Jan. 20, 2015.
Ginnie was 7-of-12 from the floor, including a pair of treys, to go along with eight rebounds.
Javon Heastie added 12 points in the victory on 4-of-8 shooting, including a 3-of-5 effort from beyond the arc, in his first action this year. Jakari Bush and Katrell Myers each scored nine points. Heastie and Myers combined for 21 of the team's 28 bench points. Jalen Bonds hauled in five boards. D.J. Roulhac dished out four assists.
Thomas (7-7, 3-4 TSC) shot 41.8 percent (28-of-67) overall and 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from deep but blistered the nets in the final 20 minutes, going 50 percent (15-of-30) from the field and 70 percent (7-of-10) from 3-point range.
The Night Hawks turned 17 Fire turnovers into 22 points.
Ryan Atkins tallied a double-double in the loss with 21 points and 11 rebounds. He was 11-of-12 from the free throw line but just 4-of-12 from the floor. C.J. Reese added 11 points, while Isaac Barsh had 10.
Southeastern (12-3, 5-1 TSC) was limited to 38.7 percent (24-of-62) shooting and 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from behind the arc. The Fire were 17-of-22 from the charity stripe.
Southeastern was only 10-of-29 from the field in the first 20 minutes and trailed 31-30 at intermission. In a game that featured 10 ties and six lead changes, Thomas' largest advantage of the night, 31-24, came with 1:48 left before halftime following a Cooks steal and trey. The Night Hawks erased a nine-point deficit at the 8:11 mark with a 19-3 scoring barrage in under seven minutes.
"That was arguably the most important seven minutes of defense we have played so far this season," Thomas coach Brent Crews said. "Our guys kept fighting and put us in position to win in the second half."
The Fire used 14-5 spurt to take a 45-40 edge with 14:23 to play and led by eight 1:23 later after a Jeremy Oppenheimer 3-pointer, but Thomas countered with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 50 following consecutive treys from Heastie. A Heastie bucket from distance at the 5:03 mark put his team ahead 63-62, and the Night Hawks never trailed the rest of the way. Southeastern managed just two points in the final 1:32, and Myers twice gave the Green and White a two-possession lead in the final 16 seconds, going 4-of-5 from the line.
Thomas continues TSC play at Ave Maria (Fla.) on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.