VALDOSTA, Ga. – The Saint Leo men's basketball team made their first statement of 2011-12 as the Lions rolled into Valdosta State and handed the host Blazers a 69-51 defeat in NCAA South Region action on Tuesday evening. It was a motivating win that took the Lions to 2-1 on the young season while Valdosta State falls to 1-2.
It was a game that saw the Lions sluggish out of the gates as VSU jumped out to a 13-4 lead just five minutes in. As the Lions got their legs back under them after the three-hour drive to Georgia they would spend the remainder of the half playing catch up. It wouldn't be until Taylor Bassett drained a three-pointer with 35 seconds left that the Green and Gold would take their first lead.
A Valdosta State basket at the buzzer knotted the score at 28 as both teams headed for the lockers.
Out of the halftime break it was a completely different story. The Lions shot 61 percent in the second stanza and outscored the host Blazers 20-0 at one stretch in the period. It was a crucial turn of events in the game that saw many of the 2,919 fans in attendance start heading for the exits with five minutes left.
The Lions took advantage of dominating post play with 17 of their 19 shots in the second half coming inside the big arc.
Junior Shaun Adams exploded onto the scene for the Lions going 11-for-13 with a game-high 24 points and six rebounds. Behind him was freshman Taylor Bassett who was 5-for-7 from 3-point range and bucketed 18 points. He also pulled down five boards and had three assists.
As a team the Lions finished shooting 50 percent (30-for-59) from the field and were 7-of-19 (36.8%) from behind the 3-point line.
For the host Blazers, Michael Panaggio and Tristan Steele each scored 12 points as VSU shot 37.5 percent (18-of-48). The decisive second half saw Valdosta State shot just 30 percent.
The Lions now turn their attention to Stetson University as they are next on the schedule. Saint Leo will travel to Deland, Fla. to face the Division I Hatters on Saturday with tip-time scheduled for 3 p.m. For the latest news, information, and updates on Lions Men's Basketball and all other Saint Leo Athletics, visit SaintLeoLions.com.