Men’s hoops upends North Alabama, 83-71, in GSC/SSC Challenge

Men’s hoops upends North Alabama, 83-71, in GSC/SSC Challenge

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Four players finished with double figures to lead Saint Leo men's basketball to an 83-71 win over North Alabama, in Saturday afternoon's first game of the Gulf South Conference/Sunshine State Conference Challenge Classic hosted by Alabama-Huntsville.

Sophomore Marcus Dewberry and senior Taylor Bassett each had 21 points to pace Saint Leo. Dewberry connected on nine of his 17 attempts from the field, and handed out eight assists. Bassett drained five three-pointers among his seven field goal attempts to aid the Saint Leo cause.

Junior Lucas Johnson added 14 points to go with a team-high nine rebounds and three blocks, while senior Ron Foxx chipped in with 11 points and three steals.

"I love the way we responded with some toughness and some real grit against an NCAA-caliber team," said Saint Leo head men's basketball coach Lance Randall. "We were much better defensively, and got some great efforts off the bench."

"Marcus Dewberry was a monster at the point today, handling the ball and making plays, and I thought our whole front line did a great job."

Saint Leo (1-1) shot 46.0 percent (29-of-63) from the field including nine three-pointers – a vast improvement over Friday's shooting performance versus Alabama-Huntsville.

"I thought we rushed our perimeter shots yesterday, but today we did a nice job of getting our feet set and finding the line and we knocked them down," said Randall.

Saint Leo jumped out to an early lead over North Alabama, breaking out to a 13-0 run that left the Green and Gold with a 19-6 lead by the 11-minute mark of the opening half.

North Alabama (1-1) trimmed the margin to six points, 26-20, with 5:43 to play in the opening frame, but Saint Leo rallied with a pair of Johnson treys sandwiched around a Dewberry layup to extend its lead to 34-21 with 3:22 on the clock. Saint Leo held its double-digit lead the remainder of the half, and went into the locker room at the break with a 39-27 advantage.

Another scoring surge by the Green and Gold early in the second half stretched Saint Leo's lead to 18 points, 49-31, at the 16:54 mark. North Alabama briefly cut the Saint Leo lead to single digits, 49-40, with 15:35 showing on the clock, but a Trail Pierce three-pointer but the Green and Gold back in front by 12 points.

Saint Leo cruised the rest of the way to the victory, with North Alabama getting no closer than 12 points over the final eight minutes.

North Alabama finished the game with four players in double figures, led by Jere Vucica with 19 points. Brandon Herman tallied 18 points with a team best four three-pointers, and Marcus Landry charted a double-double off the bench with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Saint Leo makes its home debut on Tuesday, Nov. 18, when it hosts Florida Memorial University.  Tip-off at the Marion Bowman Activities Center is slated for 7:00 p.m.

For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo men's basketball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

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