March 6, 2014

Saint Leo Advances to SSC Semifinals with 63-53 Win Over Lynn

Jerrel Harris and Ron Foxx each score 18 points; Harris nets 1,000th career point 

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Saint Leo University men's basketball team set a school record for wins in a season on Thursday afternoon with its 63-53 win over Lynn University in the Sunshine State Conference tournament quarterfinals at Silver Spurs Arena. The win improved the Lions to 23-7 on the season surpassing the previous mark of 22 wins set last season by the 2012-13 Saint Leo team. 

The win is the Lions' third straight victory, and their seventh win in their last eight games. Saint Leo avenged a 63-60 loss to the Fighting Knights on Feb. 22, the Lions' only loss during that eight game stretch. Lynn finishes the season 9-18.

Jerrel Harris and Ron Foxx led Saint Leo with 18 points, while Harris also tallied his 1,000th career point at Saint Leo during his two year career for the Lions. Spenser Mitchell added 12 points and a career-high tying 14 rebounds. 

Chim Kadima, Devin Crisosto and Taylor Bassett all added five points in the victory. 

Saint Leo overcame cold shooting from the field in the first half shooting just 32.1 percent (9-of-28) and 28.6 percent (2-of-7) from behind the three-point arc. The Lions would eventually hit their stride and used a 15-2 run over the last 8:56 of the first half – capped off by a Harris basket with two seconds left in the first stanza – to give Saint Leo a 26-18 lead at the break. 

Keeping the Lions in the game in the first half was its control of the boards. Saint Leo outrebounded the Fighting Knights 26-18 in the first 20 minutes, including a dominating 11-3 advantage on the offensive glass. That advantage led to Saint Leo outscoring Lynn 13-1 in second chance points. 

The second half would prove to be a different story offensively for the Lions. Saint Leo would come out of the locker room and proceed to go on a 8-0 run led by five Harris points, including the three pointer with 17:27 left in the game that to put him in the 1,000-point club. The Lions would push their lead to a game-high 16 points, 36-20, on Harris' next basket with 16:31 left in the contest. 

Saint Leo sustained its double figure advantage until Lynn cut the Lions lead to seven, 57-50, on a Haki Stampley three with 1:35 left in the game. The Fighting Knights would get as close as five, 58-53; however the Lions would end the game with five consecutive points. 

During the second half, Saint Leo shot 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from the field, and 50 percent (2-of-4) from behind the three-point arc en route to the win. 

Saint Leo will play the winner of the Tampa-Florida Tech game in the tournament semifinals on Saturday, March 8 at 5 p.m. 

For more on the Saint Leo University men's basketball team visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also be sure 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter and Instagram.