MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- High flyers they were the last time the Buccaneers suited up seven days ago. High expectations they'll have in Thursday's 7:30 p.m. home game against Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.
Barry University men's basketball team (2-0) continues its six-game homestand through mid-December when the Tarzans (0-4) visit Health & Sports Center in a game that will air on the Buccaneers Broadcast Network.
The Buccaneers, who created a buzz in their home-opening 31-point win over Florida Memorial last Tuesday, are trying to sustain the momentum they've built up in the first two games.
"The more excitement that we bring, I feel like the more fans we'll get, and it'll boost our confidence a lot," said. senior forward Garrett Naughton, who threw down a monster follow-up jam in the home opener. "It's a big opportunity because we get a chance to showcase what we've really got, going against a Division II team."
This will be the Bucs first test against an NCAA Division II opponent. The Tarzans compete as an NCAA Division II independent. It will be Barry's first chance to begin building a resume for what they hope will be the fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in school history. The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee takes into consideration games against Division II opponents.
"It's always fun when you dunk it or make a highlight play and you hear everybody jump out the gym and (get) excited," sophomore forward Yunio Barrueta said, still relishing in his Moonlight Madness and home opener dunks that raised the roof. "It's always good to make highlight plays."
Highlights aside, the Buccaneers have to do a better job taking care of the basketball. They've committed a combined 36 turnovers in the first two games. Conversely, Barry has just 14 takeaways and 23 assists to its name. Last season, the Bucs committed 24 turnovers through their first two games, while getting credited for 21 assists and 15 steals.
"We've got to be a little bit stronger with the ball, especially the guards," Barrueta said. "We have the ball at least 90 percent of the time, so we have to be strong and smart when we pass it into the post to the bigs. Make sure they're open, make steady passes and not get picked off."
Mayaguez will play four games over a six-day stretch in Florida, matching up against three other Sunshine State Conference opponents.
"This will be good for us to work out our kinks so when we play the bigger teams and the better teams, we'll be more prepared," Naughton said.
The game can also be followed via LIVE STATS.
LAST TIME OUT: Barry beat Florida Memorial by 31 nine days ago ... Savad Garner had 15 points and six rebounds.
SERIES RECORD: Barry owns a 7-0 record against the Tarzans ... The Bucs beat Mayaguez, 87-53, in Miami Shores on Nov. 19, 2012.
EYES ON OPPONENT: The Tarzans are coming off a 70-51 loss to Saint Leo on Nov. 12 ... They play at Lynn Wednesday night before visiting Health & Sports Center ... Last year, Julian Rodriguez scored 23 points against the Bucs on 7 of 12 shooting ... Gabriel Garcia had 10 ... Robby Mercado had six rebounds ... Rodriguez had 11 points vs. Saint Leo in the Tarzans' last game.
GARNER-ING ATTENTION: In two games this season, newcomer Savad Garner has done what he’s done in his first two years of college basketball at other schools: score as an undersized forward ... At 6-2, Garner, who’s playing for his third school in as many seasons, has reached double figures in both games, is shooting 66.7 percent from the floor, and has pulled down seven of his 10 rebounds on the offensive end.
HALF & HALF: Barry Sr. F Magne Fivelstad has scored half of his points from the free throw line this year ... He is 13 of 16 from the stripe, and is averaging 13.5 points per game.
TRIPLE THREAT: Junior G Juan Ferrales is shooting 60 percent from beyond the three-point line (6 of 10) this year ... He’s accounted for all but four of the Bucs’ 10 total triples in the first two games.
OWNING THE OFFENSIVE GLASS: Barry ranks first in the Sunshine State Conference in offensive rebounds at 15.5 per game ... The Bucs have outrebounded their opponents by 17.5 per game in the first two contests.
BETTER NOT GET A T-O: Barry committed 19 turnovers in the season opener ... The Bucs had 17 in their second game, four nights later.
FREE THROW IMPERFECTION: Barry’s first two opponents have shot a combined 44.2 percent from the free throw line.
OUTSCORING THE OPPOSITION: Barry has outscored its opponents by 20.5 points per game, which is tops in the SSC ... Florida Southern’s 86.3 ppg leads the league ... Florida Tech is scoring 80.2 ppg.