MELBOURNE, Fla. – Down the wire it went with a chance to tie and set up overtime again. But this time, lady luck wasn’t on the Buccaneers’ side.
Barry lost 83-81 at Florida Tech Saturday in an up-and-down game with a frenzied pace.
Florida Tech (8-10, 2-7 Sunshine State Conference) took a 75-74 lead with 3:35 left on the clock when Jermaine Jackson scored on a three-point play. Barry senior forward Filip Toric sank two free throws after Florida Tech coach Billy Mims received his second technical foul in less than a minute to give the Bucs a 77-75 lead with 2:25 to go.
Jackson hit a three-pointer to put the Panthers up, 78-77, before Bucs senior guard Chad Renfro scored on a cutting lay-in off a feed from sophomore forward Magne Fivelstad to push the Bucs (9-9, 3-6) back ahead by one. Florida Tech’s Chris Carter scored to give the Panthers an 80-79 lead with 35 seconds left.
Terrance Tubbs sank two free throws before Fivelstad hit a baseline jumper to pull the Buccaneers within 82-81. Jackson split a pair from the free throw line with eight seconds remaining. But Barry couldn’t convert on its last possession, and the host Panthers escaped in a nerve-tested game.
Buccaneers senior guard Justin McCoy scored 21 points to extend his double figures streak to 17 straight games. He added four assists. Toric had 15 points, 10 boards, four assists, two steals and a block. Jackson scored 28 points, and Carter added 24 points, nine steals and four assists.
Barry shot 50.8 percent from the field, going 30-for-59. Florida Tech was 32-for-66 for 48.5 percent. The Bucs were an uncharacteristic 13-for-21 from the free throw line. The Panthers were 12-for-18. Barry turned it over 22 times, in large part due to Florida Tech's pressure defense, which came away with 16 steals. Tech had 14 turnovers.
Sophomore forward Damien Dwaine scored on a tip-in in the paint to give Barry a 50-44 lead less than two minutes into the second half. Dwaine then fooled everyone on a beautiful fake when he prepared to hand the ball off to McCoy, while initiating a baseline feed. But when both Tech defenders followed McCoy around the wing, Dwaine turned baseline and drove in for an uncontested lay-in to give Barry an eight-point lead.
Florida Tech erased that, taking a 64-58 lead on a Tubbs three-pointer with 11:30 to go. McCoy buried a three from the corner as Barry capped a 9-3 run to tie the game, 67-67, with eight minutes left.
Dwaine finished with 14 points and two steals. Renfro had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. Martin scored eight points and had six rebounds, three on the offensive end. Fivelstad went 5 of 9 from the floor, finishing with 10 points, seven boards, four assists and a block.
Barry trailed by as many as nine midway through the first half, but closed the half with a 17-7 surge over the final 4:45, taking a two-point lead into the break.
McCoy was 8 of 12 from the field. Toric went 4 of 5 from the floor, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. Dwaine was 6 of 8 from the floor.
TIP-IN: Florida Tech presented Barry acting head coach Orlando Gonzalez with a check for $727 for the Cesar Odio Leukemia Foundation. Odio, the Bucs head coach for the past 18 years, is battling leukemia for the second time.