Lions finish record setting season with a 24-9 record
LAKELAND, Fla. – The Saint Leo University men's basketball team's record setting season came to a close on Sunday night in the NCAA Division II South Regional semifinal with a 70-61 loss to Delta State University at Florida Southern University's Jenkins Fieldhouse.
The Lions finish the year with a 24-9 record while the Statesmen improve to 27-6. Saint Leo's 24 wins is a school record surpassing last year's mark of 22 victories.
Jerrel Harris finished his stellar career for the Lions netting 27 points on 8-for-20 shooting from the field and 11-for-14 from the free throw line. He also dished out five assists, and had four rebounds and two steals in the loss.
Chim Kadima added nine points and grabbed five rebounds in 25 minutes of action.
The Lions, who were the lone Sunshine State Conference school standing coming into today's game with the Statesmen – after Barry, Florida Southern and Tampa all lost in the first round on Saturday – caught a break early on in the game when Delta State's leading scorer, Willie Readus, picked up his second foul just 3:25 into the contest and was forced to go the bench for the remainder of the half.
Saint Leo looked to take advantage of his absence jumping out to its biggest lead of the game, 13-6, on a layup by Spenser Mitchell off a Harris assist with 12:39 left in the half.
Although the Lions would lead for the majority of the first half, they were unable to stretch the lead any further, and allowed Delta State to hang around.
After Harris connected on two free throws to give Saint Leo a 27-23 lead with 3:53 left in the half, the Statesmen would use an 8-2 run to close out the half and take a 31-29 lead into the locker room at the break.
Delta State would take control in the second half allowing the Lions to regain the lead just once, on a jumper by Harris with 17:26 left in the game.
Although Saint Leo would cut the Delta State lead to one point, on three occasions after its final advantage, the Statesmen would push the edge to a game-high 10 points, 61-51, on a Devin Schmidt jumper with 5:01 left in the game.
Saint Leo wouldn't get closer than five points the rest of the way.
On the night, Saint Leo shot just 37.3 percent (19-for-51) from the field and just 15 percent (3-for-20) from three-point range. The Lions, however, were impressive from the charity stripe hitting 87 percent (20-for-23).
Delta State dominated the boards outrebounding Saint Leo 39-26.
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