Buccaneers Visit Bobcats for Men's Basketball Matchup

Buccaneers Visit Bobcats for Men's Basketball Matchup
Aaron Martin and the Bucs need to do a better job of executing to beat the Bobcats Tuesday. Photo by Jason Roberts

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Orlando Gonzalez won't let this happen again. At least not the taking the other team lightly part, anyway.

Fresh off a win in Saturday's season opener some feel Barry may have escaped with good graces on its side, the Bucs have no time to get comfortable. Gonzalez, Barry's interim head coach, won't allow it. Not with a 2-0 St. Thomas University team up next on the road 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

The Bobcats, an NAIA school in Miami Gardens, beat NCAA Division II Florida Southern, ranked No. 27 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches poll, 89-85, on Nov. 2 in Lakeland. While Florida Southern, which was picked to finish second in the Sunshine State Conference, was shorthanded, St. Thomas' win served notice.

Or at least it should have, as far as the Bucs are concerned.

"It's going to be a hard-fought game," Gonzalez said. "They provide a lot of pressure defensively."

That starts with St. Thomas point guard Kevin Hicapie, who has 12 steals in his first two games. On top of that, he's scoring 22.5 points per game on the offensive end.

"He's dangerous with the ball in his hands," Barry assistant coach Ryan Saunders said.

That means Bobcats teammates Dylan O'Sullivan (15 ppg, 4.5 assists, 2.steals), Floyd Battle (13 ppg, 2.5 stl) and John Nunnally (7.5 ppg, 8.5 reb) are better because of Hicapie.

"I haven't seen anybody with that much energy, and that's much of a pest for teams as him in a long time," Gonzalez said. "He's disruptive defensively. He's a one-man wrecking crew. He creates chaos defensively. He's all over the place. We've got to do a good job handling their pressure."

In the opener Saturday, Barry turned the ball over 11 times, and had nine assists. That will need to change. As will the 33.9 percent field goal shooting, including 18.8 percent from three-point range that was marred by an 0-for-9 first half disappointment.

"We weren't consistent with our execution," Gonzalez said. "Our execution will get better. There's a lot of things to get better at. I'm pretty confident the shooting, that's something that will get better."

Sour numbers aside, the Buccaneers overcame a sluggish start and what nearly ballooned into a double-digit deficit to win going away after seniors Bryan Van Cott, Justin McCoy and Filip Toric came to play in the second half.

"I'm very proud of the way we handled adversity," Gonzalez said. "We stay cool, calm and collective. We're going to have more of those games this year. If we can find a way win those types of games, we're gonna win a lot of games."

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