MELBOURNE, Fla. – Despite trailing at the half to the Florida Tech Panthers, 32-27, the Saint Leo men's basketball team came out of the break with a renewed focus, riding a 15-4 period opening run to a 67-64 victory on Wednesday evening at the Clemente Center.
The key Sunshine State Conference victory gives the Lions a clean 2-0 sweep over Florida Tech in regular season action, and advances the Green and Gold to a record of 17-6, 5-5 SSC. With the loss, the Panthers drop to 14-7, and 4-6 in conference action.
Jerrel Harris led the team with 19 points, shooting 8-for-14 from the field, and making good on 2-of-3 attempts from long range. Ron Foxx notched his fifth double-double of the season, tallying 16 points and pulling in 13 boards, including seven on the defensive end of the court. Freshman Marcus Dewberry joined Harris and Foxx in double figures, scoring 12 points on the night as he shot 5-for-7, and 1-for-2 from beyond the arc.
Florida Tech was led by Chris Carter, who scored a game high 20 points, followed by Jermaine Jackson with 16 points on the evening.
Offense was at a premium in the first half with both clubs shooting under 40 percent to begin the half, and with 3:47 remaining before the break the Lions found themselves leading by three, 27-24. However, eight straight points, including six from Carter, gave the Panthers the edge at the half, 32-27.
Saint Leo came out of the break and halted Florida Tech's momentum, opening up with a trey from Cale Girten to pull to within four of the Panthers. Chim Kadima followed suit sinking his own shot from long range to cut the deficit to one, 34-33, and with a layup from Foxx, the Lions found themselves in the lead once again.
Saint Leo added four more points to pull ahead 39-34 before Florida Tech could earn their next points thanks to a jumper from Robert Booth at the 14:32 mark. Despite the break in scoring, the Lions rolled through the ensuing 10 minutes, outscoring the Panthers 21-to-15 to hold onto a 60-51 lead with 4:34 to go.
Florida Tech chipped away at the deficit over the course of the following minutes, but the Lions were able to hold onto the advantage thanks in large part to clutch shooting down the stretch to hold onto the lead.
The Lions return to action on Saturday, February 8, when they host Barry University at the Marion Bowman Activities Center. Game time against the Buccaneers is slated for 4 p.m. Fans who cannot make it to the game can catch all of the action live on the Saint Leo Sports Network at SaintLeoLions.com.
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