Saint Leo men’s hoops prevails over Palm Beach Atlantic, 47-44

Saint Leo men’s hoops prevails over Palm Beach Atlantic, 47-44

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Saint Leo senior Devin Crisosto scored a career high 20 points to lead the Lions in a 47-44 non-conference men's basketball win over Palm Beach Atlantic University, Saturday night at Rubin Arena.

Crisosto was the lone Saint Leo player to crack double figures, leading a Lions squad that shot an efficient 45.0 percent (18-of-40) from the floor. Crisosto also dished out a team-best three assists in the victory to go with five steals.

Sophomore Marcus Dewberry and senior Ron Foxx each netted eight points in the win, which boosted Saint Leo's record to 5-4 heading into a stretch of three straight home games in a four-day span before the holiday break. Crisosto and Foxx each had six rebounds to lead the Lions on the glass.

Neither Saint Leo nor Palm Beach Atlantic (5-2) ever had more than a four-point lead in a contest that saw 13 ties and 12 lead changes.

The Sailfish held a two-point lead, 44-42, with 2:46 remaining in the game Nigel Sydnor's traditional three-point play following a Dewberry foul. Sydnor committed a foul of his own barely 20 seconds later, sending Crisosto to the line for a pair of foul shots. The senior connected on both, knotting the game at 44-44.

Three straight turnovers – two by the Sailfish and one by the Lions – resulted in Saint Leo with possession with under a minute remaining, and a Foxx layup with 39 seconds showing gave the Lions the lead for good.

Foxx hit the first of two free throws with just five seconds remaining for the final 47-44 margin of victory.

The Lions' biggest scare of the second half came midway through the frame, when a Ronnell Ross dunk with 12:22 to play gave the Sailfish a three-point lead, 31-28. Palm Beach Atlantic missed on a pair of opportunities to extend that lead into a two-possession game, and a Crisosto layup at the 11:51 mark reeled the Sailfish to within one point.

Clark Major's layup coming off a media timeout at 11:08 extended the Sailfish lead back to three, and PBA again threatened make it a two-possession game. However senior Cale Girten drained one of the Lions' two three-pointers of the night to tie the game, and a Dewberry layup on the next trip down the floor gave Saint Leo a 35-33 lead.

Saint Leo began the second stanza with a 21-19 lead after barely over 40 percent shooting in the first half. The Lions struggles extended to the free-throw line – an area where the Green and Gold have been rock-solid this season – with a 2-of-7 mark over the first 20 minutes of play.

That was all reversed in the second half. The Lions shot at a 50 percent clip in the closing frame, and were 7-of-8 at the charity stripe – including a 4-of-5 mark in the final five minutes.

Defensively, Saint Leo held Palm Beach Atlantic to just 35.8 percent (19-of-53) shooting from the floor, much of that buoyed by PBA's 40.0 percent mark in the second half.

Ross finished the game with 11 points and a team-best seven rebounds for Palm Beach Atlantic, while Evin Graham charted nine points, four assists, and two steals in the loss.

Saint Leo opens its three-game home stand on Wednesday, Dec. 17, when it hosts Miles College in a 7:00 p.m. tip-off at the Marion Bowman Activities Center.

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