WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Despite a two week span between games, the Saint Leo men's basketball team managed to shake off any rust as the Lions defeated host Palm Beach Atlantic 72-63 on Friday afternoon.
Starting off with a back-and-forth contest where the Sailfish held a lead through the first media timeout, Saint Leo (10-2) managed to put together an impressive eight minute run to close out the first stanza where they outscored PBA 22-9. The run, where they controlled the final minutes of the half, allowed the Lions to head into the break holding a 37-24 advantage.
The beginning of the second half was much of the same as the Green and Gold were able to extend the advantage to as much as 20 points by the 7:28 mark, but PBA was able to make one final run to make things interesting. The host Sailfish managed to cut the lead to single digits behind consecutive three-pointers and successful trips to the free throw line, but the Lions would prove to be too much and managed to keep the lead at arm's length to preserve the win.
Jerrel Harris again proved to be the big contributor for the Lions with 23 points on 5-of-10 shooting where 11 points of his game-high total came from the free throw line. Also in double figures for the fourth time this season was freshman Marcus Dewberry as he tied his career high with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Ron Foxx and Spenser Mitchell teamed up to be a threat on the boards for Saint Leo as they split 16 of the Lions' 41 rebounds evenly, while the entire Saint Leo defense kept PBA to just 34 percent (21-of-62) shooting from the field.
As a team, the Lions shot nearly 40 percent (23-of-58) from the field and connected on four 3-pointers.
For PBA, Evin Graham was the only player to reach double digits in scoring with 12 points for the Sailfish in the loss.
With a quick turnaround before the Christmas break, the Lions will return home to face Shaw on Sunday afternoon. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
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