FORT MYERS, Fla.- There were some new faces on the court Friday night as the #3 Florida SouthWestern Buccaneers kicked off their 2019-2020 season against the Broward Seahawks. Afterall, FSW had to replace seven sophomores, five of those Division I signees, and three of them Power 5 competitors. But through the changes, one thing remained, FSW's dominance of opening night as the Bucs handled the visiting Seahawks 80-63 in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 to claim their fourth win to begin a season in their fourth season of action.
The Bucs came out ready to go, wasting no time in jumping out to a 7-0 lead before the Seahawks knew what hit them. Broward came back though, tying the score at 12 and keeping the score knotted at 17 with 12:25 remaining in the first half. A pair of easy buckets for the Bucs in transition pushed them out to a four point lead and they didn't look back from there, quickly stretching their advantage to double digits at 34-23 before taking a 42-30 lead into the locker rooms at half.
As they did in the first half, the first seven points of the second belonged to the Bucs as their lead to 49-30 with 16:42 to go. After taking a 54-40 lead with 12:42 to go, the Bucs went ice cold, going over six minutes without a field goal as Broward trimmed their lead all the way to six at 54-48 with less than seven minutes to go in the contest. Four straight from Jalen Finch got the Bucs back on track and a slam by Keon Ellis pushed their lead back out to 73-57 in the blink of an eye. A two handed flush moments later from Simeon Kirkland all but finished the Seahawks off as the Bucs went on to win 80-63 to start the season 1-0 for the fourth straight year.
The Bucs put up 80 points and won by 17 despite shooting just 40% from the field as a team. Five Bucs got into double figures in scoring in the win including Kirkland who led FSW with both 15 points and eight rebounds in the victory. Berrick JeanLouis, Jalen Finch, and Keon Ellis all had 12 for the home team while Ralph Bissainthe came off the bench for 11 points and six boards.
FSW opens the season 1-0 while Broward starts 0-1.
The Bucs will have a marquee matchup on their schedule on Saturday as 3rd ranked FSW batted 5th ranked Eastern Florida State at 5 PM at Suncoast Credit Union Arena.
Before the game the Bucs will be hosting their Tip Off Celebration in the arena parking lot where there will be food, music, fun, and games for the whole family. Admission is free and the event will run from 1-3 PM.