Posted: Dec 16, 2019
OCALA, Fla.- Earning a pair of wins at the Florida Juco Shootout over the weekend, the #5 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers will enjoy a 14-1 record heading into the holiday break. Saturday FSW had little trouble in a 76-52 win over Palm Beach as four scored in double figures and their defense held the Panthers to just 33% shooting in the contest. Sunday was a different story as the Bucs had to come from behind in the final minute against Chipola, nailing three big free throws and coming up with two clutch steals to sneak past the Indians 68-66.
The two halves nearly mirrored themselves on Saturday as FSW outscored Palm Beach by 12 a half for a 76-52 victory. Keon Ellis led all scorers with 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting while Ralph Bissainthe added 12 and De'Lazarus Keys chipped in 8 points and 11 boards off the FSW bench.
As expected, the Bucs had a battle on their hands Sunday against a talented Chipola squad. Points were hard to come by early and FSW faced a rare halftime deficit, trailing 32-30 at the break. The Bucs looked like they were in trouble, trailing by nine with under nine minutes remaining, but that's when their defense dug their heels in and allowed the offense to inch back into things. They cut the Chipola lead to five at the six minute mark and then used a 6-2 burst to get back to within one with 4:30 to go. They took the lead with 2:37 remaining, but Chipola answered to tie the score and the two went back and forth into the final minute of action. With their backs to the wall, down three with 47.3 seconds left in regulation Ellis got a quick score to draw the Bucs back to within one. It was a two point game with 20 seconds left when Jalen Finch stepped to the line and nailed a pair of free throws to tie the score at 66. On the ensuing possession Simeon Kirkland picked off a pass and Ellis was fouled as he brought the ball up the floor to send him to the charity stripe. As cool as a cucumber, Ellis drained the freebies to give the Bucs a 68-66 lead and Bissainthe iced the game with a steal on the inbounds to seal the win for FSW. Berrick JeanLouis and Ellis combined for 38 of the Bucs 68 points in a contest in which FSW shot the same from the field (47%) as the free throw line where they were just 11-23.
The wins send the Bucs to 14-1 on the year which is where they will hit the holiday break at the midway point of their 2019-2020 campaign.
FSW will return to action December 28th and 29th when they host Oakton and Delta in the Holiday Classic at Suncoast Credit Union Arena.