MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Deric Hill sat for most of the first half, but didn't disappoint in the second half as he led Barry University men's basketball team back for an 96-92 overtime victory over Florida Tech Wednesday. The Buccaneers (14-3, 5-3 Sunshine State Conference) won their fourth straight in the process.
The Bucs trailed by 11 with 16:54 to play, but Hill, who was limited to seven minutes in the opening half due to foul trouble, scored nine points in the second half, burying four three-pointers to steer the Buccaneers back. He finished with a career-high 23 points, eight assists, six steals and four rebounds before fouling out. His six steals also matched a career-high set earlier this year.
"Our coaches warned us they were big, strong and athletic," Hill said of the Panthers. "So we had to come with our game-ready attitude."
Hill's triple with 15:39 to go cut Florida Tech's lead to eight. He canned another with 14:24 to play to make it a five-point game. The Panthers (13-6, 3-5) pushed their lead back to 10 on Isaac Spence's layup with 11:11 to play before Juan Ferrales canned a three a minute later.
Arie Williams hit a three as Barry cut it to 70-64 with 6:18 to go. Hill scored less than a minute later as the Bucs drew within four, and Yunio Barrueta scored at the 4:56 mark to make it a two-point game. After Jermaine Jackson buried a 3-pointer with 3:02 left to give Florida Tech a 77-70 lead, Williams hit another three, and Hill scored with 52 seconds left to pull the Bucs within two. Corbin Jackson's dunk with 30 seconds remaining extended the Panthers lead back to four, but Hill canned another 3-pointer to make it a one-point game.
Barrueta tied the game when he hit the first of two free throws with four seconds left in regulation, and a turnover by the Panthers gave Barry another crack at it with less than a second to play. But Barrueta's desperation turnaround try was off the mark, extending the game to overtime.
Trailing 86-83 with a little over two minutes in the extra session, Hill banged down a game-tying triple -- his fifth of the contest -- to knot the score at 86-86. With a minute to go, Hill hit a running floater in the paint to give the Bucs an 88-86 lead.
"Not only did he lead in terms of getting us in the right place and the right offenses, but he made all the big plays," Barry first-year coach Butch Estes said of his point guard. "He just broke it down time and time again. When you break it down like that, it gives you the pass to get the offensive rebounds, so that probably helped us in that area, too.
"He's really taken the challenge, both offensively and defensively, and maybe playing as well as he ever has in his career."
Jermaine Jackson made one of two free throws as the Panthers pulled within one, but an intentional foul on Savad Garner sent the Bucs junior newcomer to the line. Garner hit both free throws, and the Bucs retained possession. Magne Fivelstad then sank two free throws with 31 seconds to go to bump the lead to 92-87. Corbin Jackson threw down a monster leaping jam with 13 seconds left to pull the Panthers within three, following a Bucs turnover.
But Fivelstad and Juan Ferrales sank four straight free throws in between a Chris Carter 3-pointer for the Panthers, and the Bucs held on.
Jermaine Jackson finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Corbin Jackson 26 points, nine boards, eight blocks and five assists. Carter had 18 points and 10 assists.
Garner had 18 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Barrueta had 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks. Fivelstad had 12 rebounds, five assists, five points and two steals, and Adrian Gonzalez scored 10 points.
Nine of Garner's rebounds came on the offensive end. Barry grabbed 23 offensive boards. Florida Tech grabbed five on the offensive glass.
"That's just amazing," Estes said. "This whole team has so much heart."
Florida Tech shot 59.4 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from 3-point range, going 8 of 14 beyond the arc. Barry was 34 of 90 for 37.8 percent from the floor, and 12 of 32 from long range.
The Buccaneers were outscored 58-38 in the paint. But Barry dominated in second chance points, outscoring the Panthers, 27-3. The Bucs converted 22 Florida Tech turnovers into 21 points. Barry turned the ball over 13 times. The Bucs bench outscored the Panthers, 18-9.
The Bucs trailed 40-34 at halftime after shooting 32.5 percent, while the Panthers hit 63 percent of their field goals.
"I thought it was our worst half of the season as far as the first half was concerned," Estes said. "We had so many breakdowns by so many people. We did want to pick up the tempo a little bit, speed it up a little more in the second half because they were just so much physically bigger and stronger than we were that they were having their way with us. I thought when we picked up the pressure and got them a little bit out of sync, that's when we started mounting the comeback and getting things going.
"We were outmanned and outplayed. You've got to give a lot of credit to this Florida Tech team. That's an outstanding basketball team. They came in here and played extremely well tonight.
"It was just a tremendous effort, great crowd, great win. I would have to say this is one of the better wins because going to overtime, the quality of the opponent, the crowd, the whole atmosphere tonight was just tremendous so just a very enjoyable experience. I wish we could've ended a little bit earlier. I could've enjoyed a five-minute break, but whatever."
Barry plays at Tampa 4 p.m. Saturday.
"The next two weeks are kind of separation time," Estes said. "You're either going to be a contender or pretender."