MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Leo men’s basketball team dropped their second game in as many days as they fell 78-73 to Southern New Hampshire University on Sunday afternoon in their final day of competition in the cold and snowy northeast.
After SNHU scored the game’s first bucket the Lions would respond with back-to-back baskets from Jeremy Jackson and two layups from Josue Vazquez to post a five point advantage on the host Penmen with 16 minutes left in the first. Southern New Hampshire responded by retaking the lead two minutes later and, in doing so, established that the game would be an intense affair throughout.
Both teams would trade the lead for the next five minutes before the hosts would go on a 15-4 during the waning moments of the first half to spread the margin to double digits.
With a 13 point lead and three minutes left, the Penmen would go cold, allowing the Lions to outscore SNHU 10-0 to close the half. The final seconds of the half saw junior Daniel Oliver drain two free throws with six seconds left to cut the lead to five, then Oliver and Jeremy Jackson teamed up to intercept the Southern New Hampshire inbounds pass as Jackson picked it up and dunked it home before the clock expired to end the half.
Half number two continued the back-and-forth battle for the first three minutes before the Penmen opened up a double-digit advantage on an 11-4 run to put SLU down 55-43 with exactly 14 minutes left.
The margin would stay between eight and ten points for the majority of the remainder of the game. Saint Leo would cut it to four points twice, once with 7:07 left and again with 32 seconds to go, but neither time would the Lions get the possession to trim the lead any more. SNHU would connect on their free throws at the end to keep squash any comeback opportunity.
The Lions were led by senior Jordan Prais, who posted his second double-double of the trip, dropping in a game-high 31 points and pulling down 11 rebounds in the loss. Jackson also had a nice afternoon connecting on 7-of-13 shots and scoring 16 points.
As a team, the Lions actually outshot the hosts posting a 53.7 percent average while holding the Penmen to 47.4 percent. Southern New Hampshire drained seven treys while the Lions only connected on two, a 15 point differential.
Allowing SNHU to pull down 10 offensive boards, the Lions allowed 13 second-chance points while only earning five putbacks on just four offensive rebounds.
Saint Leo will now look to make the long trip back to the Tampa Bay area on Monday evening. The Lions will next face Northwood University on Friday evening in their last contest before the Christmas Break. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. in the Bowman Center on the Saint Leo campus.