Coach Tyndall talks about his Indians as they head into midweek bye

Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 9:37 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Chipola mens team is still enjoying an unblemished record, some 21 games into the season, and three games into Conference play.

Along with the number one ranking in the State and National polls. That 21st win coming this past Saturday afternoon, a hard fought 70-61 win over visiting Gulf Coast. That game in which the Commodores raced out to a 9 point first half lead. The Indians able to rally and outscore Gulf Coast 41-23 in the second half, keeping them undefeated.

“I say this all the time, Phil (Gaffney) is an outstanding coach,” Head Coach Donnie Tyndall said. “He does a great job, he’s won a ton of games everywhere he’s ever been and his team was ready. They were physical, they competed, they played the right way. And took us out of some of our stuff the first half offensively. They really, really pounded us on the glass. And so we were fortunate to get out of there with the win. You know we keep saying in this league it’s really survive and advance and get on to the next one. And every single night it’s gonna be tough.”

As for being undefeated and ranked number one, well that keeps a big target on the Indians’ chests. But that shouldn’t change how the Indians practice and play, says the coach.

“You know you’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” Tyndall continued. “And they’re all trying to give you that first loss and knock you out from being number one. And we understand that. We don’t really talk about it. To be perfectly honest, a guy I really admired and looked up to was a guy by the name of Rick Majerus who who was the head coach at Utah for years. And one of the best basketball minds to ever coach the game. You know he had a saying, he wanted to coach every practice like they just came off a 20-point loss at home. And that’s really how we try to approach things.”

The Indians now with wins over Northwest Florida, Pensacola and Gulf Coast. After the midweek bye they go back on the road Saturday at Tallahassee which started with wins over Northwest and Pensacola.

The Chipola men head into Saturday afternoon 21-0 and 3-0 in conference play, and coming off the midweek bye, so they’ll be quite rested. The Eagles, in blue here, winning last night at Gulf Coast 93-82, so they’re 20-1 and 3-0 in league play. They’re ranked second in the State and 5th in the national polls. So, a first-place showdown on tap in a couple of days, with national pride on the line as well.

Again, not playing last night perhaps gives Chipola some edge, they’ve been working on this game all week long, though not working too much, says coach Tyndall.

“There’s that fine line, that balancing act if you will of how much do you practice and grind them? And how much do you take advantage of a few extra days to rest and let them get their legs back? We’re going to try and get that happy medium if you will. And I think that if nothing else the extra time to prepare for a really good Tallahassee team. Another team that’s outstanding, they’re talented, they’re very well coached. So the only difference this week is that we’ve got to go on the road.”

And they’re expecting a larger crowd than usual.

“It’s an ESPN plus game so we understand it will probably be a sellout environment. And they’re going to have a great crowd. And so two top five teams in the country going at it. But you know I tell people all the time when I took this job this is what I envisioned. I had a great understanding of how tough the Panhandle Conference is. So you take a job like Chipola because of that. It gets your blood boiling, it’s exciting and it’s a lot of fun both for our staff, our players and certainly for our fans.”

The men’s game 4 Eastern time this Saturday, the ladies tip off at two Eastern.