FORT MYERS, FLA.- The 5th ranked Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers put on a clinic in the first half Saturday night, opening up a 59-27 lead at the break against LSU-Eunice before rolling to a 98-71 win against the Bengals to move to 15-1 to close out 2018.
The Bucs started off on fire to open the game as Keon Ellis scored the first seven of the contest and Maddox Daniels popped a three to give FSW a 10-0 lead just 2:24 into things. They didn't stop there though as Ellis scored again moments later to make it a 15-2 game and a bucket on the inside from DeShawn Thomas pushed the lead to 21-5 five minutes in. The Bucs continued to light it up as the first half pushed forward, going up 30-10 on a drive and score from Charles Manning Jr. and stretching their lead to 39-13 with 9:50 to go in the half. Mason Daniels grabbed a rebound and drove the length of the floor for two to put FSW on top 45-17 later in the half and the Bucs stormed to the locker room on top 59-27 as Manning Jr. scored just before the break.
The Bucs shot a blistering 64% from the field in the half, getting 17 from Ellis and nine from Thomas in the period. They got it done on the defensive end as well, allowing just 10 first half field goals to the Bengals while forcing nine Eunice turnovers.
A huge dunk by Ellis got the second half going for the Bucs and a three by Mason Daniels put the Bucs up 68-33 five minutes into the half. FSW looked well on their way to the century mark as they took an 81-46 lead on a Manning Jr. three with just over 10 minutes to go. However, the Bucs hit their first cold stretch of the game moments later, managing just a pair of field goals over a 3:45 span, but they were well in control at that point and cruised to a 98-71 win at the final horn to earn their 15th win of the 2018-19 season.
FSW finished the game shooting 55% from the field while LSU-Eunice hit on just 33% of their field goal attempts on the night. In a statistical oddity, the Bucs held the Bengals without a single two point field goal for the first 19:58 of the second half with Eunice's only bucket inside the arc coming on a dunk in the final seconds after going 0-14 to that point.
Ellis led the Bucs with a career high 21 points in just 17 minutes while Manning Jr. put in 18 of his own, also in 17 minutes of work.
FSW improves to 15-1 on the year with the win while LSU-Eunice goes home 8-7 from Southwest Florida.
The Bucs will be back at it next Saturday when they open Suncoast Conference action in St. Petersburg when they take on the Titans in a matinee road contest.