FORT MYERS, Fla.- The term Dunk City may have been coined in Fort Myers six years ago, but it was on full display Tuesday night in Suncoast Credit Union Arena as the #3 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers took on the Miami Dade Sharks in a battle of early season unbeatens. FSW came out hot and never cooled down, putting on a show for their home crowd by throwing down 18 dunks on the night and shooting 62% as a team as they blew past the Sharks 116-88 to move to 5-0 on the year.
In a matchup between 4-0 teams, it was close early on between the Bucs and the Sharks. A Berrick JeanLouis slam early on gave FSW a 6-3 lead and was a precursor to what was to come the rest of the night. Miami Dade went on a mini run behind some hot shooting to take their biggest lead of the night at three, but the Bucs answered quickly with another dunk from JeanLouis and an old fashioned three point play from Ralph Bissainthe to even the score up at 20 midway through the first. The Bucs scored the next seven points from that point and never looked back again. FSW turned a Miami Dade turnover into a Keon Ellis dunk on the other end to take their first double digit lead of the night at 50-40 with 3:23 remaining in the half and extended their lead to 12 at the half at 59-47.
The Bucs shot an eye popping 71% overall in the first half, despite the fact they went 0-4 from three point land, meaning they shot an even 80% from inside the arc in the period. JeanLouis and Ellis combined for 24 points to lead the way for the Bucs in the first 20 minutes while Jermaine Marshall just missed a double-double in the half with 8 points and 8 rebounds.
FSW quickly extended their lead to 18 early in the second half as they continued to have their way with the lackluster Miami Dade defense. With the game in hand, it was showtime for the Bucs in the final 10 minutes. FSW's next seven baskets all came via dunks, Ellis in on four of them, three of his own, and one to Bissainthe on an alley oop. Even point guard Jalen Finch got in on the action, raising up for a throw down of his own to give the Bucs a 96-74 lead with 6:13 to go. The Bucs continued to punish the Sharks for turnovers and long rebounds, putting up 20 more points in the final six minutes to run away with a 116-88 win to remain unbeaten on the year.
The Bucs finished the night shooting 62% from the field as a team. The final categorical numbers didn't even look real for FSW as the Bucs scored 90 of their 116 points in the paint on the night and scored 48 points in transition. Six players scored in double figures for FSW, led by Ellis who poured in a career high 26 while also notching 7 rebounds and 6 assists in the win. A pair of Bucs notched their first career double-doubles as Finch went for 13 points and 10 assists while Marshall finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
FSW improves to 5-0 for the fourth straight season while Miami Dade suffers their first loss of the year, falling to 4-1.
The Bucs are back in action this weekend in Americus, Georgia where they will take on Triton, a 30 win team from a season ago, on Friday, followed by a date with Wake Tech on Saturday before returning home.