MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- After the first half of Sunshine State Conference play, the Buccaneers have done something special. Still, there's another month and a grind left ahead as basketball moves into February Frenzy.
No. 3 Barry University men's basketball team used a 63.6 percent three-point shooting effort in the second half to overcome a game Tampa team that played without conscience throughout to prevail, 99-93. The win improved Barry's record to 16-1 overall, 8-0 in the SSC through the first round of league games. The second half begins at Saint Leo 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Spartans (11-7, 4-4) led by as many as 11 midway through the first half, but a streaky shooting performance keyed by Barry's Anders Haas lifted the Bucs after the break.
Haas scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, going six of seven from the field, and had three assists that led to eight more points -- two of his dimes resulted in threes by Yunio Barrueta and Juan Ferrales. Haas hit a triple with 13:48 to go to give Barry a five-point lead. He buried another 1:45 later to push the lead to six.
But Tampa battled back to tie the game -- one that featured eight lead changes and six ties -- at the 5:10 mark before Barrueta hit two straight buckets. Deric Hill's steal led to a Ferrales triple in transition to extend the Bucs lead back to eight.
The Spartans whittled it down to five on Jordan Davis' layup with 52 seconds remaining before Hill sank two free throws. Davis and Barry's Adrian Gonzalez each hit two free throws to keep the Bucs in front by seven before Tampa's Austin Rettig canned a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to trim Barry's lead to four.
Haas sank two of his next four free throw attempts, the latter coming with 12 seconds on the clock to cushion Barry's lead to six, and Hill sank two from the stripe to seal it.
Barrueta had 25 points, six boards and two steals. Savad Garner scored eight of his 12 points in the first half, and grabbed seven rebounds. Ferrales had 15 points, six assists and two steals. Hill had 10 points, seven assists and three steals.
Eugene McCrory had 26 points, 13 boards, and was 10 of 15 from the field for the Spartans. Davis had 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and a block, playing all 40 minutes. Rettig finished with 24 points, and Othniel Shelton had 10 points and five rebounds.
The Buccaneers were outrebounded for the third time in the last five games, losing the battle on the boards, 36-29. Barry was outscored, 42-32, in the paint. But the Bucs forced 17 Tampa turnovers, converting them into 22 points. Barry had 12 turnovers, allowing the Spartans to turn them into 14 points.
Barry shot 53.6 percent from the field. Tampa hit 50.7 percent of its field goals. The Bucs went 13 of 26 from beyond the arc for 50 percent. The Spartans were 12 of 25 for 48 percent. Both teams shot over 81 percent from the free throw line.
Deric Hill's three steals moved him within one of eight all-time at Barry. He has 117 in his two-year career. All the other Buccaneer leaders in the top 10 played three or more seasons.
The 99 points marked the ninth time this year the Bucs have scored 90 or more.