Bucs Topple Eastern in Battle of NJCAA Titans

Ralph Bissainthe (Photo by Roy Allen)
Ralph Bissainthe (Photo by Roy Allen)

FORT MYERS, Fla.- In a rarely seen opening weekend top five matchup, the #3 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers hosted the #5 Eastern Florida State Titans Saturday night in Suncoast Credit Union Arena. After a slow start, the Bucs took control late in the first half and never looked back, bringing home a 72-60 victory that could hold major implications later this season. 

The Bucs didn't get off to an ideal start, falling behind 6-1 right off the bat against the Titans.  A three from Berrick JeanLouis got them on track and quickly FSW had things tied up at 12, seven minutes into things.  The two teams traded blows through the middle of the half before a 12-1 run by the Bucs, highlighted by a huge alley-oop dunk from Keon Ellis put them up 35-24 late in the half.  Eastern got a late hoop to cut into the lead, but after 20 minutes of action, FSW held a nine point advantage at 35-26. 

It was the Bucs defense that allowed them to take the first half lead as they held Eastern to just seven field goals and 29% shooting in the period while forcing 13 turnovers which they turned into 14 points. 

FSW came out of the locker rooms at half ready to go, quickly pushing their lead to 17 just six minutes into the period. A steal and score from JeanLouis with 11:20 to go gave the Bucs their biggest lead of the night at 57-36 and they put it in cruise control from there.  Eastern never got closer than 10 for the remainder of the night with the Bucs eventually finishing them off 72-60 for their 48th straight victory in the friendly confines of Suncoast Credit Union Arena. 

The Bucs finished the game shooting 43% from the field while holding the Titans to just 37%.  JeanLouis scored a game high 18 while Jermaine Marshall and Ralph Bissainthe each chipped in a dozen.

FSW improves to 2-0 on the year while Eastern drops to 0-2.

The Bucs are back in action next weekend when they travel to Davie to participate in the Broward classic where they will take on Baltimore County and Wayne County in matinee affairs.