MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Justin Furr had just arrived at the office around 1:30 p.m. He and the Buccaneers men’s basketball team were preparing for their toughest test of the season.
Barry University (3-0) hosts Belmont Abbey College (3-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Health & Sports Center in the finale of the Thanksgiving Classic. Nova Southeastern will play Belmont Abbey at 5 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s game can be seen on the Buccaneers Broadcasting Network. Both games can be found on Barry’s LIVE STATS.
“They’re very structured offensively,” said Furr, a first-year assistant coach with the Bucs. “Defensively, they’re going to show us a variety of defenses. They’re going to be a real tough test for us, especially this early in the year. They’re a team that’s definitely capable of coming in and beating us if we don’t play well.”
The Buccaneers are in the midst of a six-week stretch with one game at home in each of those successive weeks. This is Week 3 in that month-and-a-half span. This year marks Barry’s first Thanksgiving Classic at HSC since the late 90s when Cesar Odio was running the program.
“One thing Coach (Butch) Estes always preaches to our team is the most important game on our schedule is the next game, no matter who that is,” Furr said. “We try not to look ahead and look past any opponent. Coach always says, ‘We don’t fear anybody, but we respect everybody we play.’”
Last year, Belmont Abbey had the leading scorer in the nation in Tyshawn Good (27.0 ppg). He is no longer with the Crusaders, who are coming off a thrilling 76-75 win over No. 19 Winstom-Salem State, decided by last-second free throws. But the Crusaders have four players scoring in double figures, while averaging 87 points per game as a team.
Belmont Abbey has been involved in three games decided by four points or less. Barry hasn’t had a game decided by under 10 points so far.
The Buccaneers are also struggling taking care of the ball. Barry is guilty of 18.7 turnovers per game.
“That is attributed to the style of play we play,” Furr said. “We play up and down, and play really fast. I don’t want it to be a stigma of if you play fast people are going to say naturally you’re going to turn the ball over. I don’t think that’s true. I think we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. I think it’s stuff we can correct on our end.”
Barry is averaging 44 rebounds per game. That’s almost 10 more than what Belmont Abbey is pulling down. All of that really means nothing since the two teams haven’t met each other yet.
“Coach Estes preaches every day unselfishness in practice,” Furr said. “We tell our guys every day and really prepare for turning down good shots to get great shots. At this time of the year, so far, we’ve done a really good job of that.”
LAST TIME OUT: Barry came four points shy of setting a school record when the Bucs dropped 111 on PR-Mayaguez ... Juan Ferrales scored 28.
SERIES RECORD: Barry and Belmont Abbey have never met on the basketball court ... Saturday’s meeting in the Thanksgiving Classic is the first.
EYES ON OPPONENT: Before visiting Miami Shores, the Crusaders snapped a three-game skid in a 76-75 win over No. 19 Winstom-Salem State when Darryl Durham sank two free throws with 0.2 seconds left ... Chris Davis is averaging 17.8 ppg and 4.7 reb ... Jonathon Garrett is averaging 13.5 ppg and 6.0 reb ... Durham is averaging 13 ppg and 8.3.
OUTMANNED: Barry has won all three games by double figures ... The Bucs are outscoring the opposition by an average of 22 points per game.
5 OVER 10: Barry has five players scoring in double figures this season, including Fr. F Adrian Gonzalez, who comes off the bench.
TRIPLE THREAT: Jr G Juan Ferrales is shooting 61 percent from beyond the three-point line (11 of 18) this year ... He’s shooting higher inside the arc than he is outside the perimeter line (.559).
BOARD BATTLE: Barry is the best rebounding team in the Sunshine State Conference ... The Bucs are pulling down 16.7 more rebounds per game than their opposition ... Saint Leo is second with a 14.2 differential.
TURNOVER PRONE: Barry committed 19, 17 and 20 turnovers in each of the three games, respectively, this season.
THIEVERY AT ITS BEST: Barry Jr. PG Deric Hill leads the SSC in steals per game (4.0) ... He is tied for third in assists (7.0)
FG FIREPOWER: Barry has shot over 50 percent of two of its three games this year ... The Bucs best shooting performance was 55.8 % in the opener.
OVER THE HILL: Hill’s 10 assists in last week’s win over PR-Mayaguez set a career-high ... He also had a career-best six steals.
HELPING HANDS: Barry’s 27 assists in the last game is tied for the fourth most by a Bucs team in school history ... The record is 38 vs. PR-Humacao.
BUCS RECORD WHEN ...
Overtime Games: 0-0
Home Games: 2-0
Road Games: 1-0
Neutral Games: 0-0
Night Games: 3-0
Day Games: 0-0
Leading at Halftime: 2-0
Trailing at Halftime: 1-0
Tied at Halftime 0-0
After a Loss: 0-0
Scoring 80+ points: 3-0
Scoring 70-79 points: 0-0
Scoring 60-69 points: 0-0
Scoring 50-59 points: 0-0
Games Decided by 2 points or Less: 0-0
Games Decided by 5 points or Less: 0-0
Games Decided by 10 points or Less: 1-0
Games Decided by 11-20 Points: 0-0
Games Decided by over 20 Points: 2-0
Outrebounding Opponents: 3-0
Opponents Outrebound Bucs: 0-0
Matching Opponents in Rebounds 0-0
Committing 10 or Fewer Turnovers 0-0
Committing 11 or More Turnovers: 3-0
5 Starters Reach Double Figures: 1-0
4 Starters Reach Double Figures: 1-0
3 Starters Reach Double Figures: 3-0
2 Starters Reach Double Figures: 3-0
1 Starter Reaches Double Figures: 3-0
Shooting 50% or Better FG: 2-0
Shooting 40-49% FG: 1-0
Shooting Under 40% FG: 0-0
Opponents Shoot 50% or Better FG: 1-0
Opponents Shoot 40-49%: 1-0
Opponents Shoot Under 40%: 1-0
Shooting 80% or Better FT: 1-0
Shooting 70-79% FT: 1-0
Shooting 60-69% FT: 1-0
Shooting Under 60% FT: 0-0
Opponents Shoot 80% or Better FT: 0-0
Opponents Shoot 70-79% FT: 0-0
Opponents Shoot 60-69% FT: 1-0
Opponents Shoot Under 60% FT: 2-0