FORT MYERS, FLA.- Playing a game that was originally scheduled to be on the road two weeks ago, the #2 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers came out on fire in front of their home crowd in the makeup game Monday night, going 12 for 16 from three in the first half in route to a 112-77 route of visiting State College of Florida. The Bucs improve to 22-1 overall and remain unbeaten in Suncoast Conference play where they now hold a 2.5 game lead plus the tiebreaker over the field at the midway point of league action.
Maddox Daniels nailed a three coming off a screen in the Bucs second possession of the game and it was a sign of things to come for the next 40 minutes. Destin Barnes got going moments later with back to back triples and then it was Charles Manning Jr. connecting from distance to give FSW a 17-8 lead just 4:23 in. Barnes hit two more threes before the 13 minute mark hit, giving him 15 points in the games first six and a half minutes as FSW was out to a 23-10 advantage on the Manatees. The Bucs continued to dominate, hitting shot after shot on their end of the floor and swatting away a number of Manatee scoring tries on the other end. Just 10 minutes into the contest, the Bucs already led it 34-16. FSW did the near impossible, keeping up the torrid pace through the second portion of the half as Daniels connected again from downtown and Simeon Kirkland went to work on the inside, scoring six straight in the paint for the Purple and Aqua to push their lead past 20. FSW hit the 50 point mark with nearly six minutes remaining in the half and then scored 17 more from there, storming into the break at half with a 67-38 lead on the Manatees.
FSW torched the nets for 75% shooting from three in the half and not your typical 3 for 4 effort. The Bucs went 12 for 16 from distance in the period, including a 9 for 11 clip from Barnes and Daniels. Oddly enough, the Bucs shot a much lower clip from inside the arc, connecting on just 41% to finish the period at 61% overall. Barnes had 18 in the half for the Bucs while Daniels had 12 and Manning Jr. 11.
State College of Florida came out re-energized in the second half, making a quick run to begin the half, but the Bucs quickly recovered and got another three from Daniels to push the lead to 30 at 73-43. Later on it was Mason Daniels' turn to get into the barrage of threes as he pulled up and hit one from deep to make it an 88-55 game. The Bucs hit the century mark with over four minutes remaining on a pair of free throws from Keon Ellis and the freshman put the exclamation point on the night with a soaring one handed slam in transition to give FSW a 112-77 win to remain perfect in Suncoast Conference play.
The Bucs shot 54% as a team in the win, hitting on 61% from deep on the night. They also took advantage of 29 free throws in the foul ridden game, knocking those down at a clip of 79%. Barnes led the Bucs with a career high 21 while Maddox Daniels added 18, and Mason Daniels chipped in 16. Manning Jr. did it on both ends in the win, scoring 14 points in 25 minutes, but also finishing with three steals and a career high five blocked shots, nearly each one of the highlight variety.
The 2nd ranked Bucs win their 11th straight to improve to 22-1 on the year and 6-0 in Suncoast Conference play. State College of Florida drops to 12-11 overall and 3-3 in league action.
The same two teams will square off on Saturday in Suncoast Credit Union Arena when they get together for a 12 noon matinee tip.