DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.- A nip and tuck battle through three quarters, the #11 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers broke away in the final period Wednesday night to knock off Daytona State 86-73 and improve to 3-2 on the year.
It looked like it was going to be another run and gun game for the Bucs as they scored just four seconds into the game to take an early lead. Later on they parlayed that into a 10-3 advantage, but Daytona State came alive, closing the first quarter on a 12-5 run to erase the FSW lead and tie the score at 15 after one.
The game remained tied at 22 early in the second when Nairimar Vargas-Reyes connected from three and Za'Nautica Downs found Shekinah Guthrie in the paint for two to give the Bucs a 27-22 advantage. Later the Bucs took a 31-24 lead on the Falcons, but they went cold from there, managing just four points over the final four minutes of the half to go to the break leading by just four at 35-31.
FSW looked like they were ready to make their push as Geovana Rios connected on a pair of triples midway through the third quarter to give them their largest lead of the game at 48-38, but again they struggled to close the quarter as Daytona whittled the lead down to two before knotting the score at 53 at the end of three.
The Bucs quickly took the lead back as the fourth quarter began and back to back old fashioned three point plays by Downs pushed them back in front by six at 64-58 with just under 6:00 to go. FSW drove the final nail three minutes later as Vargas-Reyes scored on a drive and Guthrie outworked the Falcons for an offensive board and putback to give the Bucs a 10 point lead, eventually going on to win 86-73.
The Bucs shot 44% overall from the field on the night, but connected on 50% from deep in the win. Downs led the Bucs with 25 points and 6 assists in the win while Vargas-Reyes dialed up a 13 point, 13 rebound double-double for FSW.
FSW improves to 3-2 on the year with the victory while Daytona State sees their 2019-2020 record even up at 2-2 with the loss.
The Bucs will have eight days off before taking the court again in the NJCAA Women's National Invitational Tournament in Midland, Texas where they will take on undefeated Hill in their first game of the tournament Thursday at 2 PM (EST).