NWF State men travel to Gulf Coast State, seek 5-0 start

NWF State men travel to Gulf Coast State, seek 5-0 start

By SETH STRINGER

 

NICEVILLE – Ten, 42, 12, 13.

A third of the way through the Panhandle Conference slate, the Raiders' path to 4-0 — all aforementioned double-digit wins — is a thing of beauty.

A 17-0 start and a 20-point nightly scoring cushion through the nonconference schedule was deemed unsustainable by some, but here the No. 1-ranked Raiders (21-0) are, outscoring conference foes 92-72 a night and dominating every facet of the game.

Offensively, the Raiders are shooting 55.4 percent from the floor and 44.1 percent from beyond the arc for 10.3 makes a night.

Defensively, the Raiders are holding foes to 42-percent shooting, and a 33-percent clip from downtown.

But that was the first run through conference. Foes will game plan differently. They'll tweak defenses, fine-tune offenses, search for every way to exploit any weakness the Raiders have hidden so far.

The first team tasked with adjusting will be Gulf Coast State (15-6, 1-3), which welcomes the Raiders to Panama City tonight for a 7:30 p.m. tip.

The last time the teams met resulted in one of the most lopsided results in the history of the rivalry. The Commodores were held to 32-percent shooting, a 3-for-16 clip from beyond the arc and were forced into 23 turnovers en route to a 95-53 loss.

 

Headed into the game, Steve DeMeo called 6-foot-5 sophomore Will Robinson "probably one of the best players in the league" and 6-6 sophomore Marlon Adams a "dynamic scorer."

Robinson shot 6 of 16 en route to an inefficient 22 points. Adams was held to just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting.

Meanwhile, the Raiders shot 57 percent from the floor, were an efficient 20 for 25 from the line and committed only nine turnovers. They dominated the paint to a 46-20 advantage, had 31 points off turnovers compared to the Commodores' four and their bench outscored the visitors 36-7.

Andres Feliz led the Raiders with 24 points, Chris Duarte added 20, Derek Funderburk scored 13 and Kelvin Robinson chipped in 10.

During the 4-0 Panhandle run, Feliz leads the team with 22.3 points and four assists per game to accent 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals a night. The sophomore point guard is shooting 62 percent from the floor and hitting 1.8 3-pointers at a 50-percent clip.

Duarte, a freshman guard, follows with 15.3 points on 64-percent shooting and leads the Raiders with 6.3 boards a night. Derek Funderburk, a freshman forward, contributes 14.3 points per game on 57-percent shooting from the floor and a 39-percent clip from beyond the arc for 2.5 3s a night. He also adds 5.5 rebounds per game.

Sophomore guard Tray Boyd III is the fourth Raider to average double-figure points with 13.3 a night, the bulk of which comes on three 3-pointers per game on a 43-percent clip.