FSW Secures 20th Win With Big Second Half

AJ Hopkins (Photo by Bill Parmeter)
AJ Hopkins (Photo by Bill Parmeter)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The #24 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers earned their 20th win of the season Wednesday night in Suncoast Credit Union Arena, using a 48 point second half to run past the visiting St. Petersburg Titans 75-46 in Citrus Conference action. 
Points were hard to come by early on as neither team could find much flow on the offensive end as the Bucs and Titans found themselves deadlocked at 10 at the under 10 media timeout.  St. Pete took a 23-19 lead after a nearly three minute scoring drought for the Bucs, but FSW found their footing from there, scoring the final eight into the break, highlighted by a thunderous dunk from Tyrone Baker to give the Bucs a 27-23 lead and momentum into the locker rooms at the half. 
The second half was a completely different story. FSW carried their momentum to end the first half right into the second, getting the first seven points and 17 of the first 19 of the period to turn a four point halftime lead into a 19 point lead at 44-25 just six minutes in. A tough finish on the inside from Yvens Paul and a three from Karmani Gregory kept the Bucs up big midway through the half before back to back triples from AJ Hopkins gave FSW their first 20 point lead of the night at 57-35.  Two more Hopkins bullseyes quickly stretched the lead to 63-35 with 7:39 to go and the Bucs put it in cruise control from there. Hopkins found Baker for a highlight reel alley oop with 4:00 to go and Baker drove the lane and thundered one home with one hand to put an exclimation point on it for the Bucs as they went on to win it 75-46 for their 10th win of the conference season. 
The Bucs shot a blistering 72% from the field in the second half and connected on 7 of 9 from distance in the final 20 minutes to finish the game at 54% shooting overall and 45% from the three point line. 
Hopkins led all scorers with 20 points on 6-10 shooting and 6-9 from three while Baker added 19 points and 8 rebounds and Gregory chipped in 18 points and 5 assists.  
The Bucs win their 20th game for the seventh time in eight seasons as a program as they improve to 20-6 overall and 10-2 in Citrus Conference action where they are now back in a three way tie for first place in the loss column with Eastern Florida and Daytona State with four games left to go in the conference schedule. St. Petersburg falls to 10-16 overall and 3-10 in league play with the loss. 
Next up for the Bucs is a home date with Santa Fe on Saturday with the Bucs and Saints getting underway in a 12 noon tip from Suncoast Credit Union Arena.