FORT MYERS, FLA.- The #3 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers made a statement to the rest of the league Wednesday night; the path to a Suncoast Conference Championship this season is going to run through Suncoast Credit Union Arena, as FSW hammered visiting Hillsborough 111-64 to improve to 17-1 overall on the season.
The Bucs started out hot, jumping out to a quick 6-0 lead before the Hawks knew what hit them. Hillborough regained their balance though and went toe to toe with FSW over the next five minutes, erasing the Buc lead and taking a 15-12 advantage of their own with 13:01 remaining in the first half. A three from Mason Daniels got the Bucs back on track and FSW would use the momentum to go on a 13-0 run to put the ball back in their court with a 25-15 lead. They didn't stop there though, stretching the lead to 12 on a finish from DeShawn Thomas on the inside and padding their cushion to 18 later on as Simeon Kirkland connected at the line. After a short burst by the Hawks, a three point play from Terence Williams Jr. in the final seconds of the half pushed the Buc lead back to 18 before the break as they took a 45-27 lead to the locker rooms at half.
FSW came out on fire to begin the second half, hitting on 17 of their first 19 field goal attempts including highlight reel dunks from Keon Ellis and Lewis to blow the game wide open at 86-42 midway through the period. It was all showtime from there for the Bucs who continued to pour it on the Hawks who had no answer for FSW's multifaceted attack. The Bucs hit the century mark on a three from Williams with just over two minutes to go and Jalen Finch lobbed an alley-oop off the glass for a two handed slam from Ellis late to put the finishing touches on a 111-64 win for the Bucs.
The Bucs finished the second half shooting 68% from the field to finish at 59% in the game. All 13 players dressed scored for FSW including 11 who had 5 or more points. Manning Jr. led the way with 18 while Lewis and Thomas each had a dozen. Finch finished with 8 points and a team best 6 assists while Ellis, Kirkland, and Maddox Daniels each had 9 points for FSW.
The 3rd ranked Bucs improve to 17-1 on the year with the victory and go to 2-0 in Suncoast Conference action. Hillsborough falls to 12-7 overall and 0-1 in league play.
FSW is back in action at home Saturday afternoon at 4 when they take on Trinity Rock on First Responders Day in the arena. All first responders will receive up to 4 free tickets at the arena box office in a show of appreciation from FSW for their dedication to the community. It is also a student engagement day with FSW students entered into drawings for $150 worth of bookstore gift cards as well as a Pepsi Yeti Cooler.