WINTER PARK, Fla. – Barry played its best collection of basketball of the season, maybe the past couple years. The Buccaneers' 70-68 overtime triumph at Rollins Wednesday night resonated with good vibes from the time they all rolled out of bed in the morning.
You just had this feeling. Surely, the product the Bucs put on the floor was something to behold.
“I definitely agree with that,” senior guard Vlad Raymonvil said after going 4-for-5 from three-point range to match his career-high from beyond the arc and finish with 13 points. “I really noticed it in the first half when we made a couple threes off the glass. I was like, ‘God is on our side today.’ It’s only right that we won.”
The Bucs (13-12, 6-9 Sunshine State Conference) won their third straight and fourth in the past five, beating a team with a menacing zone defense on a Warden Arena floor where wins don’t come easily for the opposition.
“I honestly felt like we were going to win this game when we stepped on the bus today,” senior guard Chad Renfro said after scoring 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting. “We needed this win. Coach (Orlando Gonzalez) said it was a business trip. We came in and took care of business.”
Barry shot 83.3 percent in overtime, knocking down five of six field goals. The Bucs were 3-for-3 from long range in the extra period.
“We got it done,” Gonzalez said. "That's what we needed to do. Guys stepped up."
Senior guard Justin McCoy hit a high-arcing three off the top of the glass to tie the game at 56-56 in the first minute of overtime, and Raymonvil buried a three-ball from the corner to give the Bucs a lead Rollins would quickly recover from in a game that experienced 14 lead changes and 12 ties. Damien Dwaine wiggled his way through the Tars’ tough-to-penetrate zone defense, scoring off-glass and drawing a foul with two defenders draped on him to put the Bucs back up, 61-58.
Raymonvil buried another clutch three with 2:03 left to give Barry its biggest lead, 64-60, before the Tars (17-8, 9-6) responded with a triple of their own by Chris Uhle. Rollins’ Kyle McClanahan sank two free throws with 56 seconds remaining to put the Tars on top, 65-64. Renfro, who tied the game or put the Bucs ahead with all but one of the seven field goals he knocked down, hit a triple from the top of the perimeter on a kick-back from Filip Toric as Barry reclaimed the lead, 67-65.
“I mean, I’m just taking shots in the flow of the offense. I guess tonight I was in the right place at the right time,” Renfro said on a high-spirited, loose bus ride leaving the Orlando area. “I didn’t lose myself in the moment knowing how big those shots were. I was just taking shots.”
Renfro was 6-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc, and the Buccaneers hit 14 of 30 triples. Renfro’s six threes were a career-best, and the Bucs’ 14 from long range matched a season-high and fell two shy of the school record set last season at home against Trinity on Dec. 16.
McCoy sank two free throws with 16 seconds on the clock to pad the Bucs lead back to four. Rollins Mitch Woods hit a triple with three seconds left after the Bucs played suffocating lock-down defense for the better part of 11 seconds to pull the Tars within one. Bucs sophomore forward Magne Fivelstad sank the first of two free throws, and Rollins’ half-court heave at the buzzer was off the mark as Barry won its fourth overtime game of the season.
“Since I’ve been at Barry, this is the best I’ve seen us play,” said Renfro, who grabbed seven rebounds in arguably his finest game in a Buccaneer uniform. “Coach always tells us to play as a fist, play as one unit. Tonight we stayed as a fist the whole game. It feels great because I haven’t beaten Rollins since I’ve been here. For us to close this game out shows we’ve come a long way since last year.”
Renfro’s triple knotted the game at 47-47 with five minutes left in regulation on a dump-back from Toric. The Jacksonville native who overcame a shark bite to his foot last summer, canned a three with 3:29 to go in regulation to give the Bucs a 50-47 lead. Renfro’s lay-in with 1:46 on the clock tied the game at 52-52.
After Rollins took the lead on Adam Allen’s bucket at the 1:15 mark, McCoy penetrated the gap of the Tars zone, dishing off to a slashing Toric, who tied the game at 54-54 with 15 seconds left in regulation.
“That was a big bucket,” said Fivelstad, who had nine points and nine rebounds.
The Buccaneers outrebounded the Tars, 36-34. Each team had 14 assists. Rollins was eight of nine from the free throw line. Barry went 10-for-16 from the stripe.
McClanahan had 14 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals, and Allen scored 15 points for the Tars. McCoy had 12 points, five boards and three assists.
Before the game, assistant coach Ryan Saunders offered Raymonvil, affectionately known as Big Shot Vlad on the Bucs' inner circle, a few motivational words. It seemed to resonate throughout the Buccaneer lineup. On a team compiled of six seniors who will play their final game in Buccaneer White and Red at Health & Sports Center 5:30 p.m. Saturday against cross-town rival Nova Southeastern with tournament-seeding implications impacting the game, motivational words sometimes go a long way.
“Coach Ryan told me, ‘This is the last time you’ll ever play at Rollins. Make it a good one,’” Raymonvil said. “I just took that initiative and stepped up and made some shots. It feels very good to be on sort of a winning streak going into Senior Night.”