Bucs Fall to #7 Tallahassee in FCSAA Tournament Quarterfinals

Photo by Liz Casey
Photo by Liz Casey
NICEVILLE, Fla.- The Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers season came to an end Thursday afternoon in Niceville, Florida at the FCSAA State Tournament as the Bucs got off to a slow start and were never able to recover, dropping a 75-69 decision to the 7th ranked Tallahassee Eagles to close the year at 20-9. 
After entering the tournament as arguably the hottest team there, the Bucs got off to an ice cold start on Thursday as they were scoreless through the first 4:23 of the game and found themselves down 11-3 at the 13:00 mark of the first half.  With the shots not falling, they turned the screws up on the defensive end and slowly worked their way back into the game, holding the Eagles to just two points over the next four minutes to trim Tallahassee's lead to three at 13-10 with 9:00 to go in the first.  A steal by Bradley Douglas and a lay in on the other end by Jadrian Tracey got the Bucs all the way back to even at 16 a piece, but just when it looked like momentum was on their side, Tallahassee rolled off a 9-0 run over the next 4:57 to go back in front 25-16 with 2:00 left in the half.  Both teams found some rhythm before the break and it was a 32-24 lead for the Eagles as they went to the locker rooms at the half. 
The Bucs found a spark at the half as Tracey came out of the break and threw down a pair of highlight reel dunks to get FSW back to within six less than a minute in. A few minutes later a three from Jordan Mitchell drew FSW to within four and the teams traded baskets to keep it a four point game at 44-40 with 13:00 left on the clock.  A pair of threes for the Eagles quickly pushed their lead back to double digits and it looked like Tallahassee might run away with it as they took their biggest lead of the game at 66-51 with 6:15 to go. Again with their chips down, the Bucs dug in on the defensive end, holding the Eagles without a field goal for nearly five minutes as they whittled the lead down to just three on a big three from Tracey from the top of the key. The Eagles stretched it back out to a two possession game at the free throw line with time winding down and the Bucs never threatened again as Tallahassee closed out a 75-69 win to move onto the semifinals while ending FSW's 2022-2023 season. 
FSW shot just 37% from the field in the loss and killed themselves at the free throw line where they capitalized on just 12 of 25 chances.  The Bucs also finished with 18 turnovers, leading to 25 points for the Eagles in the contest.  Tracey was the lone FSW starter who scored in double figures as he finished with 19 while Jemal Davis led the reserves with 12. 
The Bucs finish the season at 20-9 while Tallahassee improves to 27-4 and moves onto the tournament semifinals where they will take on Eastern Florida Friday afternoon with a trip to the championship game on the line.