ANCHORAGE, Alaska – On a night when some of their more productive players were not quite on their game, the Saint Leo University men’s basketball team (6-5) looked to a newcomer to lead them to a 71-63 win over the University of Alaska – Anchorage (3-7) , Wednesday night from the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
The Lions received a 22-point night from junior newcomer Josue Vazquez, as they swept the host Seawolves on consecutive nights.
The first half of the contest started much the same way that Tuesday night’s matchup went. The Lions got the lead about five minutes into the game and pushed it to double-digits through the first 20 minutes. The Lions would lead by as much as 12 points with 53 seconds to play before taking a 36-27 lead into the lockers at the half.
UAA senior Jeremiah Trueman, who had a career night on Tuesday, and was held scoreless in the first half, had all 10 of his points and six of his seven rebounds after halftime to keep Anchorage within reach of the Lions. The Seawolves finally tied it with 5:36 to go in regulation sending the fans into a frenzy.
The Seawolves only lea for less than a minute as Vazquez calmly stroke two free throws to give the Lions the lead they would not relinquish.
When neither team was hot from three-point range, free throws made all the difference, as Saint Leo sank 22-of-31attempts and UAA went 9-of-12. The Lions scored 10 points in the final 3:36 from the charity stripe in securing their sixth win of the season.
Joining Vazquez, who was 8-for-11 from the floor, was Kyle Rowland and Jordan Prais, who each had 14 and 12 points respectively.
It was another stellar defensive night for the Lions as they posted eight blocks and seven steals. Add four rejections from last night’s 12-point win and the Lions have 12 blocks in just two games, handding UAA their first back-to-back losses since February of 2005.
The Lions wrap up their trek of the Great Northwest as they travel to Fairbanks, Alaska to face the Nanooks on Thursday night with a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.