Bucs Drop Shootout Against #3 Salt Lake

Photo by Joe Mestas (JoeMestas.com)
Photo by Joe Mestas (JoeMestas.com)
TAYLORSVILLE, Utah- Through their first three games of the season, the #20 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers struggled to find their rhythm on the offensive end of the floor.  Monday night on the road at #3 Salt Lake, FSW found that and more, putting up a season high 94 points, but they couldn't slow down the hot shooting of the Bruins as Salt Lake shot 52% from the field and drilled 18 three pointers to defend their home floor with a 101-94 victory to send the Buccaneers to their third straight defeat.  
It was the Bradley Douglas and Tyson Brown show early on for FSW as the inside/outside duo combined for 18 points in the first seven minutes of the contest to get the Bucs out to an early 23-17 lead on the Bruins.  A triple from Douglas at the 12:13 mark of the first half gave the Bucs their biggest lead of the game at 27-17, but FSW slowed from there as Salt Lake roared back to tie the game and then go up one with 7:52 remaining in the half on an old fashioned three point play.  Five straight points from Jemal Davis kept the Bucs in it, but FSW couldn't slow Salt Lake down as the Bruins continued to push, opening up a 54-47 lead with 2:04 left in the half.  The Bucs kept fighting, getting threes from Douglas and Davis in the final minute to finish the half on a 6-0 run, knotting the score at 57 in a thrilling first half as the teams went to the locker rooms at the break. Douglas scored 22 first half points to lead all scorers, but Salt Lake shot 55% from the floor and 48% from three in the half to keep the game level after 20 minutes of action. 
The Bucs didn't take long to take their first lead of the second half as Jadrian Tracey ripped down a rebound and cashed a three home on their first possession of the stanza to put them up 60-57 and a tip in moments later from Brown kept the lead on the side of the Bucs at 64-63 with 17:30 to go.  Salt Lake responded with a three of their own to go back ahead and used it to start a 9-5 run to push back in front 73-68 at the 15:00 mark.  The Bruins slowly cushioned their lead to double digits before another triple from Davis got the Bucs back to within seven at 89-82 with 7:22 to go.  Defense prevailed on both sides over the next four minutes while a pair of AJ Hopkins three balls got FSW all the way back to within one at 90-89 with 3:33 remaining. Another big defensive stop for the Bucs turned into a transition lay in for Douglas on the other end on the Bucs next trip down the floor to give them their first second half lead since early in the period at 91-90.  But just as it looked like FSW had to the momentum, a big three from Salt Lake put the lead back on the Bruins side and their 18th three of the night made it 100-92 Salt Lake with just under a minute to go. That was the final blow for the Bucs as the Bruins dribbled out a 101-94 win in a thrilling shootout in the Lifetime Activities Center. 
It was far and away the best offensive performance of the season for the Bucs as they shot 47% overall and 38% from three point land.  Douglas dropped in a season high 30 in the loss while Brown had his best game as a Buc with 23 points and 13 rebounds.  Davis added 13 points in 21 minutes off the bench before fouling out late in the contest.  
Salt Lake hit on 52% from the field and 47% from three where they racked up 54 points on 18 makes on the night.  
The Bruins remain unbeaten at 4-0 on the year while FSW suffers their third straight loss for the first time since 2016 as they fall to 1-3 on the year. 
The Bucs will look to get back on track at home on Thursday when they welcome FSCJ to Suncoast Credit Union Arena for a 7:30 tip in the Slim Sports Classic.