Big Second-Half Rally Pushes Lions Past PBA, 74-71
SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's basketball team used an impressive second half rally from some unfamiliar faces as the Lions rebounded from a nine point halftime deficit to claim the 74-71 victory over Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday afternoon.
After a sluggish first half where the Lions (14-4) surrendered a 41-32 advantage to the visitors from West Palm Beach and trailed by as much as 11 points during the first 20 minutes, Saint Leo would turn to its bench to buoy them in the second period.
Taylor Bassett, logging his first serious minutes since the Albany St. game, came off the bench with the hot hand. Connecting on two triples in the first half, the junior from Syracuse, NY used a two minute span in the second half to drain three of four attempted treys as he put the Lions back on top. It was a half where the Lions' defense also came up with big stops and only allowed the Sailfish to get one offensive rebound, a board that PBA yanked down in the final minute of play.
Ron Foxx matched his teammate in points, but earned a majority of his the old-fashioned way as he pushed toward the basket and forced PBA to foul him. Foxx finished the night tied with Bassett for the team's scoring lead, but also managed to earn his third double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds, a board shy of his career mark. A monster on defense, the Gainesville, Fla. native added a season-high four blocks to his game totals.
Spenser Mitchell notched a new career high in rebounds as he pulled down 14 boards to go along with 10 points marking another Lion with a double-double effort in the win.
Bassett would finish with 18 points, tying a career mark he set at Valdosta St. in November of 2011, his freshman year in the Green and Gold.
Not to be overshadowed by his teammates, Chim Kadima contributed 15 points to the victorious effort.
Kadima, Mitchell and Foxx combined to outscore the visitors 31-14 in the paint, while Foxx and Bassett helped Saint Leo outscore PBA 40-19 in bench points.
Palm Beach Atlantic (6-11) was led by a game-high 19 point effort from Evin Graham but the Sailfish could not overcome a 19-8 deficit in second chance points from a stingy Saint Leo defense.
Saint Leo will use the comeback effort as momentum heading back into Sunshine State Conference play. The Lions will welcome Eckerd College into the Bowman Center for another pivotal game on Wednesday night. Saint Leo and Eckerd will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.
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