Published: November 21, 2011
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ST. THOMAS - The University of the Virgin Islands Buccaneers stepped onto the Paradise Jam stage on Saturday night following two NCAA Div. 1 games, and they did not disappoint the home crowd.
The Buccaneers gave a glimpse of a dynamic team in their exhibition game against the Metropolitan University Crocodiles on their way to a 84-76 victory.
Shamal Caines led UVI in scoring with 21 points, and Rick Marby put in 18 points.
Jerrick Amaro scored 17 points for UVI and played a strong leadership role.
"I was pleased. I think everything is okay once we run our offense through Jerrick Amaro," said UVI head coach Sean Georges.
Ramon Castillo scored 10 points for UVI.
Alejandro Soriano led Metropolitan University with 19 points.
The Buccaneers poured it on strong early against U-Met with a fast-break offense. UVI dropped in several quick layups midway through the first quarter for an early 24-12 lead.
U-Met responded with a zone defense that led to turnovers early in the second quarter as they closed the gap to 24-16. But UVI's distinct height advantage showed through the rest of the first half as UVI and Metropolitan traded baskets, often with second and third chances on the Buccaneers' side of the court.
UVI ended the half with a 45-34 lead.
UVI's momentum sputtered at the beginning of the third quarter as coach Sean Georges rotated in young players to see them in action. They could not find the hoop while Metropolitan controlled the pace of the play.
The Crocodiles erased UVI's lead and tied the game at 51.
"We were experimenting," Georges said. "When we put in our veterans, it was clear that we were the better team tonight."
UVI held onto a slim lead, ending the third quarter up, 62-60.
An infusion of veteran players onto the court gave the Buccaneers a dominant final quarter as they rolled to a decisive victory.