Soul Searching: Men's Basketball Heads to PBA

Soul Searching: Men's Basketball Heads to PBA
The Bucs will need to hunker down defensively after giving up over 82 ppg its last four games. Photo by Joel Auerbach

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Ryan Saunders tossed a tension ball around his office.

"We haven't hit the panic button yet," Barry's assistant men's basketball coach said.

No, but after three straight losses, something needs to change. For the Buccaneers, that opportunity starts 7 p.m. Wednesday when they play at Palm Beach Atlantic.

The men's game follows the women's game at 5 p.m. Both games can be seen in LIVE VIDEO. Follow the women's game via LIVE STATS. Follow the men's game via LIVE STATS.

"There's an extreme sense of urgency going into this game against Palm Beach Atlantic," Saunders said. "They play with a lot of confidence, and they play with a ton of energy. All those things are magnified when they're at home."

PBA (1-12) has not won in seven home games this year. Barry (6-6) is 0-3 on the road. Something has to give.

"We just have to get on the same page," Barry senior guard Chad Renfro said. "They're desperate for a win. We just have to come out hungrier for a win than they are."

Barry is 2-4 when turning the ball over 16 or more times in a game.

"We have to take care of the ball," Saunders said. "We've given up leads. We can't do that."

The Bucs are coming off a double-overtime loss against Sunshine State Conference leader Saint Leo -- a game Barry played well enough to win.

"I thought if there was a game we deserved to win, it was Saint Leo," Saunders said. "Our guys were pretty disappointed after that game. They want to win. We definitely need a win. We need a win for our confidence."

PBA and Barry split the two meetings last season. Barry lost by five to the Sailfish on the road last year.

"Are we gonna show up and take care of busniess? That's the question," Saunders said. "We can't let Palm Beach Atlantic hang around. We've got to try to put them away from the get-go. We can't let them hang around because they're dangerous. If one shot goes in, a ton goes in."

Three players are scoring in double figures for the Sailfish. Marcus Hardy is averaging 17.5 points per game and 7.2 rebounds. Dante Valentine is averaging 11.7 ppg and 7.1 reb. Christian Martinez is scoring 11.6 ppg.

Barry's Justin McCoy leads the Bucs in scoring (15.1) and is second in assists (3.0). Bryan Van Cott is averaging 12.3 ppg, Renfro 11.4 ppg and 5.0 reb, and Aaron Martin 11.1 ppg and 4.3 reb.

But the problem has been on defense. In the last four games, Barry has given up 82.75 points to its opponents. Saunders credits that to better opponents and two overtime contests. In the first four games, Barry was holding opponents to 58.8 ppg, and ranked in the top 10 in the country in scoring defense.

"We need to get more aggressive," Renfro said.

Palm Beach Atlantic is scoring 69.5 ppg and giving up 83.8. The Sailfish are shooting 39.7 percent from the floor. The Bucs are shooting 39.3.

"Different guys have got to step up," Saunders said. "We need complete games from everybody that goes in. We can't afford to have guys not show up. That's not just offensively. Defensively, we can't have guys take nights off. The more guys that step up, the more dangerous we're going to be."



SERIES RECORD: Barry is 19-4 all-time against PBA ... The Bucs split the
series last year, winning at home, 60-57, on Feb. 1.

EYES ON OPPONENT: The Sailfish are coming off an 86-68 loss at Rollins
Saturday ... PBA has lost 10 in a row ... Marcus Hardy is averaging 17.5 ppg
and 7.2 reb ... Dante Valentine is averaging 11.7 and 7.1 reb ... Christian
Martinez is scoring 11.6 ppg ... PBA is 0-7 at home this season.

LAST TIME AT PBA: Barry lost to PBA in West Palm Beach last season,
65-60 ... Justin McCoy scored 11 points in that game.

ROAD WOES: Barry is 0-3 on the road this year.

FIRST 4, LAST 4: Barry is allowing 82.75 ppg in its last four games ... The
Buccaneers were holding teams to 58.8 ppg in the fi rst four games.

REAL McCOY: Sr. G Justin McCoy ranks seventh in the Sunshine State
Conference in scoring at 15.1 ppg ... He has scored in double figures in 11
straight games ... Last week, he averaged 22 ppg in two contests.

CAREER LEADERS: Sr. G Vladimir Raymonvil ranks third in school history
in career free throw percentage (.815) ... Sr. G Bryan Van Cott ranks
fifth (.797).

FREE THROW EQUALITY: Sr. G Bryan Van Cott has a .797 free throw
percentage for both his season and career averages.

RENFRO IN RECORD BOOKS: Sr. G Chad Renfro ranks in the top 20 in
seven statistical career categories at Barry ... He is 17th all-time in scoring
average (11.6) and three-point percentage (.342).

8 IS ENOUGH: Sr. F Filip Toric has led the Buccaneers in rebounding in
eight games this season ... He is averaging 8.0 rebounds per game.

DISNEY BOUND: Barry will compete in the Sunshine State Conference
tournament in Kissimmee, Fla., Mar. 6-10 at Silver Spurs Arena ... Kissimmee
is home to Disney World ... All SSC teams qualify for the tournament.