MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Barry University men's basketball team lost for the third time this season in a game decided by two points or less in Saturday's 85-83 setback to Eckerd to drop the Buccaneers' record to 16-6 overall, 6-6 in the Sunshine State Conference.
The loss evened Barry with Eckerd (14-10, 6-6) in league play with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Barry will host Nova Southeastern at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the second of of three straight home games at Health & Sports Center. Wednesday's game will mark the celebration of the fall semester Student-Athlete Academic Recognition day at halftime.
Barry sits in a tie for fifth place in the league standings with the Tritons, one game behind Wednesday's opponent Nova Southeastern (11-13, 7-5) and Saint Leo (19-6, 7-5). Florida Southern and Tampa occupy the top two spots in the SSC.
It was the fourth loss this year decided by three points or less for the Buccaneers, who've been involved in 10 games decided by five points or less.
The Bucs, who shot a season-high 80 percent in the first half, going 20 of 25 from the field, built an eight-point lead on Magne Fivelstad's basket 1:30 into the second half. But in a game featuring seven ties and four lead changes, Eckerd's Malcolm Brunner Jr. pulled the Tritons within two, 69-67, with 11:19 left on the clock.
Fivelstad's tip-in with 7:01 remaining put the Bucs ahead 75-71, but after Ray Darnell scored 58 seconds later to tie it at 75-75, at no point the rest of the way were the two teams separated by more than two points. Eckerd's Josh Snodgrass' layup at the 2:57 mark tied the game at 79-79 before Juan Ferrales sank a pair of free throws. Tritons guard Jerrick Stevenson squared the score at 81-81 with 1:16 to play, and Snodgrass hit a pair from the stripe to give the Tritons their first lead since the 2:18 mark in the first half.
Savad Garner tied the game on a dish from Fivelstad with seven seconds to play, but Brunner Jr. hit a runner in the lane with 0.6 seconds left, and Barry couldn't get a final shot off following a timeout.
E.J. Moody had 19 points, and Snodgrass 16 for the Tritons, who shot 63.6 percent in the second half. Barry was 12 of 31 in the second half for 38.7 percent.
Five players scored in double figures for the Buccaneers, who finished the game shooting 57 percent from the field. Fivelstad had 11 points and five rebounds. Yunio Barrueta scored 21 points and grabbed eight boards. Ferrales scored 18 points and had four assists. Garner scored 12 points and had three assists. Adrian Gonzalez hit his first five field goals for the second straight game, finishing with 11 points.
Barry junior point guard Deric Hill tied Nelson Fonseca's school 20-year record for assists in a season by dishing out 13, while coming up with four steals and six points. Hill has 168 assists this year. It was the sixth time this year Hill has recorded 10 or more assists.