MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Barry needed this one.
The Buccaneers blitzed Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, 87-53, Monday at Health & Sports Center in a game they held the Tarzanes to four field goals in the first half.
Barry (2-1) limited Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (1-2) to 16 points in the first half.
“The defense in the first half was exceptional,” Bucs assistant coach Ryan Saunders said. “We forced them to take tough shots. We knew they were wanting to shoot the three, so we did a good job chasing out to their shooters. Because of our defense, we were able to turn that into points on the offensive end, and get easy baskets into transition. Getting easy baskets early helps our confidence offensively.”
Aaron Martin scored a career-high 20 points for Barry, which shot over 50 percent from the floor for the first time this season. The Bucs outscored Mayaguez 49-16 in the first half after hitting 18 of 32 field goals.
“That’s what we brought Aaron in to do,” Saunders said. “He provides instant offense. He’s been picking up the system. As the year goes on, he’s going to play more and more, and hopefully contribute like he did tonight.”
Justin McCoy had a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists.
“Justin did a great job distributing, getting his teammates open,” Saunders said. “We need more of that from him this year.”
Filip Toric had 10 points and nine rebounds. Bryan Van Cott scored 15 points, and Chad Renfro had 12 as five Bucs reached double figures.
“The more guys that we can have in double figures the better," Saunders said. "We have a lot of weapons offensively. It was refreshing to finally see those shots finally go down. The more guys that we have on the floor that can score the better, while not compromising our defense."
The Buccaneers shot 50.8 percent from the field, including nine of 21 three-pointers.
“It was nice to see our offense finally get going after a sluggish few games,” Saunders said.
With 3:26 left in the game, Bucs freshman Bouna N’Diaye followed a missed field goal with a thunderous dunk as he soared in from the baseline and rammed it home to give Barry a 40-point lead.
Barry plays at the West Alabama tournament Friday and Saturday in Livingston, Ala.
“It’s a good confidence booster for two tough region games,” Saunders said of Monday's win, his thoughts already circulating to Alabama this weekend. “They are two very difficult games that are going to test us early on in the season.”