SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo men’s basketball team shook off the rust from a two-week layoff and proceeded to dominate the visiting Lynn University Fighting Knights with an 80-65 final in Sunshine State Conference action from the Bowman Center on Sunday afternoon.
The Fighting Knights (2-9, 0-2 SSC) took the opening possession and drained their first shot behind a Chris Hall jumper to get things started. Saint Leo (9-2, 1-1) would quickly answer to claim their first lead of the game 18 seconds later when senior Quentin Cullop drained the first of nine SLU 3-pointers on the night. It would be an advantage that the Lions would hold until the 12:45 mark when a Lynn trey put the visitors from Boca Raton back on top at 14-13.
Jeremy Jackson answered the 3-pointer with a three of his own and put the Lions on top for good with 12 minutes to go in the first half. After that point, the Lions would open up the floor, playing their fast-paced game that has become familiar this season and earned a double-digit advantage behind a Walter Perkins dunk with 4:28 left.
Pushing the advantage to 17 points at halftime, the Lions saw no drop in aggressiveness in the second half as they opened up as much as a 20 point lead before claiming the final 15 point victory.
Earning their ninth win of the season, the Lions saw four starters post double figures behind Cullop’s 16 point night. The senior was just 4-of-11 from the field with three 3-pointers, but bolstered the Lions’ free throw accuracy making five of six attempts. Jamal Thompson was one point shy of Cullop with 15.
Sophomore Matt Kendrick tied his career record for blocks in a game with eight blocks and 14 points. Kendrick was close to a triple-double as he was two blocks and two boards shy.
Senior Jeremy Jackson added 10 points as well.
The Lions shot 45.6 percent (26-of-57) from the field and 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from behind the arc in claiming the victory. That is compared to just 32.4 percent (24-of-74) from the field for the visitors.
The Lions also outshot their opponents from the free throw line, hitting on 65.5 percent of their shots while Lynn only connected on 61.9 percent of their chances.
Saint Leo will stay home as they play host to their first midweek conference opponent when they face Florida Southern on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Marion Bowman Activities Center on the Saint Leo campus.