SAINT LEO, Fla. -- Vince Alexander, in his first season at the helm of the Saint Leo University men's basketball team, announced the complete 2015-16 schedule Monday. The Lions schedule features 15 home games and match-ups with two top-15 teams from one year ago.
"I am really excited about this upcoming season," said head coach Vince Alexander. "We have a tough schedule but I think we're up for the challenge."
Alexander is a 16-year veteran as a collegiate head coach, all of it at the NCAA Division II level. Alexander began the 2014-15 season among the winningest active coaches in Division II in both winning percentage (.604, 53rd) and total wins (285, 55th).
Fans can catch their first look at the Lions at the SSC/GSC Challenge Classic, hosted by Saint Leo November 13 & 14. Saint Leo will host four teams in the crossover tournament, including Tampa, Alabama-Huntsville and North Alabama.
"The Conference challenge is a great thing because not only does it give you two extra games early in the season, but it gives match-ups against quality opponents. It allows us to get a read of where we lie in the region at the beginning of the season because we are hosting teams that will be playing in March."
The Lions will open at home for the first time since 2012.
"It's nice to start a new era in front of your home crowd and be surrounded by the community with the University behind you."
Just a few days later, Saint Leo will dive into Sunshine State conference action on the road at Eckerd. In its first road game of the season, the Lions will face the Tritons at the McArthur Center in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Saint Leo returns home Nov. 21 to open a five-game homestand. The Lions will host SSC foe Nova Southeastern Saturday, before a brief stretch of nonconference action. The Green and Gold will welcome Allen, Tuskegee and Clayton State to Marion Bowman over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Allen arrives Tuesday, Nov. 24 for a 7 pm tip, while Tuskegee and Clayton State will make their first appearances in Marion Bowman Nov. 27 and Nov. 29.
The schedule features six games in December, highlighted by a trip to St. Louis, Mo. The Lions will host defending National Champion Florida Southern Dec. 2 before making the trip to Boca Raton, Fla. on Dec. 5 to face Lynn University.
Dec. 12 the Lions will host Barry, a NCAA Tournament participant from one year ago, before hosting Benedict College Dec. 15.
In their final games of 2015, the Lions will travel to St. Louis, Mo. for match-ups against Missouri-St. Louis and Maryville (Mo.) on Dec. 19 and 20.
"The St. Louis trip provides and opportunity for our team to bond, to come together. It will give us some time on the road and really its only our third and fourth road game of the year. We'll play against quality opponents, and we're looking forward to the match-ups."
Saint Leo opens the new year back at Marion Bowman when it hosts future Sunshine State Conference member Palm Beach Atlantic on Jan. 2. The Lions will be in the heart of conference action, travel to Melbourne, Fla. Jan. 6 to play Florida Tech. The conference double headers continue Jan. 9 and Jan. 13 when Saint Leo plays host to Rollins and Embry Riddle. The Lions will play at Tampa Jan. 16 to close out the first have of conference action.
"I've had the opportunity to coach against Rollins and Florida Southern, they were always very good. I imagine when you add the rest of the conference to it, it's going to be a challenge. I'm excited, I'm up for the challenge and I'm looking forward to it. If we can get through this conference, it puts us in a good place in the regional."
Saint Leo will stay on the road Jan. 23 when the travel to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. for a key match-up at Nova Southeastern. Jan. 27, the Lions will host Eckerd before traveling to Lakeland, Fla. Jan. 30 to take on Florida Southern for the second time of the season.
February will be the Lions toughest month as they four of its seven games are on the road. However, the Lions will not got more than two games on the road the entire season. Saint Leo will travel to Miami Shores, Fla. Feb. 3, to play at Barry, before returning home to host Lynn Feb. 6.
Saint Leo hits the road again Saturday, Feb. 13 and travels to Daytona Beach, Fla. for a match-up against Embry-Riddle. Wednesday, Feb. 17, the Lions head back to the eastern coast to play Palm Beach Atlantic.
Saturday, Feb. 20, Lions fans can catch Saint Leo in the Bowman as the host Florida Tech. In their final road game of the regular season, Saint Leo will travel to Rollins Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Saint Leo will close season at home against Tampa Feb. 27.
"We're pretty fast, we're pretty quick and we shoot the ball well. I think it's a very coachable team and they seem to enjoy the camaraderie and want to improve. We have a lot to work on, but I think we can be a high caliber team."
For more information on the Saint Leo men's basketball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.