MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Make it twice as nice for the Bucs.
For the second straight game, Barry raced out to a lead and never relinquished it. In the process, the Buccaneers went on to an 80-73 win over visiting Tampa Saturday at the Health & Sports Center. The win was Barry’s fourth in its past five games.
“Any win is good,” a jubilant Bucs assistant coach Ryan Saunders said after his squad reached the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 25.
Barry (7-7, 2-1 Sunshine State Conference) led by as many as 18 in the first half, only to have the Spartans (4-9, 0-4) storm back in the second half to make it a one-possession game on multiple occasions.
The Bucs, which had four players in double figures and two others with nine points, hit a steady 53.4 percent of their field goals. Barry, which entered the game shooting just over 70 percent from the free throw line, knocked down 13 of 16 for 81.3 percent in this one. The Buccaneers attempted just one free throw in the first half.
Barry, which outscored the Spartans, 22-13, in bench points, turned 15 Tampa turnovers into 17 points. The Spartans, which hit 10 of 11 first half free throws, outrebounded the Bucs, 35-29.
With 7:33 left in the game, Tampa’s Osby Kelly hit a triple to pull the Spartans within two, 60-58. Kelly had canned a three at the 9:44 mark to cap an 11-2 Tampa run that pulled the Spartans within three. After Justin McCoy scored on a layup with 5:53 to play to push the Buccaneers lead back to six, Tampa’s Stefon Barfield hit a jumper in the paint 1:21 later to draw his team within three again.
Bryan Van Cott knocked down a triple for the Bucs with 1:18 to go to extend the lead back to seven before it became a free throw contest for Barry. Tampa drew within three again when Callum Townsend hit a three with 27. 4 seconds left, but Vladimir Raymonvil sank a pair of free throws to ice it down the stretch.
Jermaine Edwards scored 16 points, grabbed 12 boards and blocked two shots despite playing with four fouls. Evan White had 15 points and three assists. Van Cott scored 14 points and had two steals. Damien Dwaine had 11 points in 13 minutes after being saddled in foul trouble.
Barfield had 20 points, and Ashton Graham 19 points and eight rebounds for Tampa. Terrell Pritchett had 11 points, five assists and six turnovers in 34 minutes.
Raymonvil, who was a steady 6 of 6 from the free throw line, had nine points. Chad Renfro had nine points, three assists and two steals off the bench for the Bucs.
Barry, which hosts Florida Tech Wednesday to complete a three-game homestand, was outscored, 21-15, in second chance points. The Buccaneers outscored the Spartans, 12-4, on fastbreak points.