Men's Basketball Plays at Nova SE Wednesday

Men's Basketball Plays at Nova SE Wednesday
Bouna N'Diaye and the Bucs are seeking their first win at Nova since 2002. Photo by Joel Auerbach

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- This rivalry has grown accustomed to the one-possession verdict.

When Barry and Nova Southeastern meet on the basketball court, that's been the trend the last few years. Last year, Nova won the first meeting on a last-second shot, 65-64, in Davie, Fla. Barry won the second game, 51-50, on a tip-in at the buzzer in Miami Shores.

Two years ago, Barry won, 72-71, on a last-second shot at home. Nova won the first game in the 2010-11 season, 75-73, in Davie with one second on the clock.

Three years ago, Nova defended its home court with an 81-79 win in which a last-second free throw was needed. Earlier that season, the Buccaneers beat the Sharks at home, 74-72, on a three-point field goal with three seconds left.

Six straight games, six straight games decided in the closing seconds by two points or less. Each school has defended its home court in each occasion.

"The last three years, it's becoming the norm," Barry assistant men's basketball coach Ryan Saunders said. "I guess we play in close games. For whatever reason, you can see it shaping up that way in the second half. We were lucky to win here last year."

Welcome another episode of this neighboring-city rivalry as Barry (8-8, 2-5 Sunshine State Conference) plays at Nova Southeastern (11-5, 4-3) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in University Center. Nova is 6-2 at home this year. Barry is 1-4 on the road.

"It's a tough place to play. It's a beautiful place to play," Saunders said of University Center. "Any place on the road is a tough place to play."

Barry is seeking back-to-back wins for the first time since the Bucs won three in a row Dec. 18-Jan. 2. The Buccaneers are also searching for their first win at Nova since Dec. 13, 2002.

"We're looking to out-tough them on their floor," Saunders said. "Tough mentally, tough physically. All-around tough. We're gonna have to have big games from everybody."

Nova has three players scoring in double figures in Iran Hollis (11.5), Brian Cahill (11.3) and Lukas Roesch (11.3).

"They've found something they're comfortable with on the court," Saunders said of the Sharks. "Defensively, they're causing some teams some problems. They've got a little bit of everything. They're pretty well-balanced. They're a smart team. They've figured something that works for them."

In Saturday's win over Tampa, the Buccaneers shot a season-high 52.1 percent from the floor behind Damien Dwaine's career-high 15 points. Barry also had a season-high seven blocks in the win over the Spartans.

"In this league, any win is definitely a good win," Saunders said. "Hopefully that win (over Tampa), we can build on and close out the first half of the conference season strong at Nova. If we can go on the road and win, it'll give us confidence for the second half of conference. We played well in most of the games on the road. For whatever reason, we weren't able to sustain our level of play in the second half."

Nova sits ahead of Barry in the SSC standings by two games. The Bucs are tied for sixth in the league. The eighth and ninth place teams will play a first-round game in the SSC Tournament Mar. 6 in Kissimmee, while the other seven teams have a bye.

"There's not that much separation between where we're at," Saunders said, "and some of the teams that are ahead of us."





SERIES RECORD: Barry is 31-14 all-time against the Sharks ... Last year the two clubs split the season series on a pair of buzzer-beaters ... Barry won the second game, 51-50, on Jermaine Edwards’ tip-in at the buzzer on Jan. 28, 2012 in Miami Shores ... Barry lost the first game, 65-64, in Davie.

EYES ON OPPONENT: Nova Southeastern is tied for fourth in the SSC ... The Sharks beat No. 7 Southern Indiana, 77-76, in Louisville, earlier this year ... Nova has won its past three games ... Iran Hollis leads the Sharks in scoring (11.5 ppg) and rebounds (6.3) ... Brian Cahill is averaging 11.3 ppg and 4.9 reb ... Lukas Roesch is averaging 11.3 ppg and 4.6 reb.

POINT WELL TAKEN: Nova Southeastern is being outscored by nearly a point per game, but still has won 11 out of its 16 games ... The Sharks are averaging 71.9 ppg and allowing 72.7.

TURNED OVER: Nova Southeastern ranks last in the SSC in turnover margin at -1.38 per game ... Barry is eighth at -0.62 ... The Sharks are averaging 15.3 turnovers per game ... The Bucs are committing 15.4.

BOTTOM FEEDERS: The Sharks rank last in the conference in five statistical categories, but still have a winning record ... Nova is last in turnover margin, steals, blocked shots, field goal percentage defense and scoring margin.

FREE THROW FRIENDLINESS: Nova ranks first in the SSC in free throw shooting at 75.3 percent ... Barry is third at 73.4 percent.

McCOY’s 15 AT 15: Barry Sr. G Justin McCoy has scored in double figures in 15 straight games ... He ranks eighth in the SSC in scoring at 15.1 ppg.

VLAD No. 2 ALL-TIME AT LINE: Barry Sr. G Vladimir Raymonvil ranks second all-time in school history in free throw percentage ... Vlad is shooting 81.8 percent from the line in his four years with the Bucs ... Brent Williams (1991-93) owns the top spot at 82.4 percent.

SPEAKING OF SHARKS ...: Barry Sr. G Chad Renfro suffered a shark attack in a summer surfing incident ... He is averaging 11.1 points per game.