Men's Basketball Opens Sunshine State Conference Play

Men's Basketball Opens Sunshine State Conference Play
Photo by Joel Auerbach.

MIAMI SHORES, Fla.—The Barry Buccaneers get back into action after a 13-day lay off and tip-off Sunshine State Conference men's basketball play when they host the Florida Tech Panthers at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 2 in the Health & Sports Center. The Bucs and Panthers are both 5-3 after the first semester.

It will be a battle of contrasts. The Bucs, annually one of the top defensive squads in the league, are currently third in field goal percentage defense (39.5 percent) and fifth in 3-point field goal defense (33.1 percent) and total defense (65.1 ppg).

The Panthers, by contrast, are one of the top scoring teams in the SSC. They lead the SSC in scoring (84.8 ppg) and offensive rebounds (15.0 rpg), ranked second in rebounding (38.2 rpg) and third in field goal percentage (47.5 percent).

For the Bucs, four players are currently averaging double figures in points with Justin McCoy's 13.6 points per game leading the way. He is followed closely by Bryan Van Cott (13 ppg), Chad Renfro (11.6 ppg) and Aaron Martin (10.8 ppg). Filip Toric adds 9.7 points and a league-leading 8.6 rebounds per game.

The Panthers are paced by a trio who all rank in the top 10 in scoring in the conference. Chris Carter leads the league at 21.6 points per game, while Jermaine Jackson is third at 19.0. Julius Reid ranks seventh, averaging 14.6 points per game.

The Bucs come in after winning their last two games in thrilling fashion at the Courtyard by Marriott Holiday Classic. They rallied from 16 points down to beat Missouri Western 68-64 in the opener. Against St. Martin's, McCoy drained two buzzer-beaters, one at the end of regulation and one at the end of the overtime period, to boost the Bucs to a 69-67 win.

The teams have faced only one common opponent thus far. Barry defeated Puerto Rico-Mayaguez 87-53, while the Panthers fell to the Tarzans 97-95 in overtime.

The game tips off at 4:00 pm with live coverage on through the GameCentral portal and the Buccaneer Broadcasting Network. Will Sanchez handles the play-by-play and with Jim McCurdy providing insights on the action.