Lions halted in Sunshine State Conference opener

Lions halted in Sunshine State Conference opener

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's basketball team closed out the game strong and mounted a comeback effort, but it was not enough on Wednesday evening to overcome a 26-point second-half deficit, ultimately falling, 80-68 at the hands of Eckerd College in the Sunshine State Conference opener.

The Basics
Final Score: Eckerd def. Saint Leo, 80-68
Location: McArthur Center | Saint Petersburg, Fla.
Records: Saint Leo 2-1, 0-1 SSC | Eckerd 2-1, 1-0 SSC

How It Happened 
1H | It looked to be a strong opening for the Lions who opened with a 6-0 lead, and led for the first seven minutes. However, Eckerd followed with an 8-0 run of their own before Coach Vince Alexander was forced to call a timeout. The timeout halted the Triton offense and a Pete Okonkwo lay-up ended the run. Caleb Stewart followed with a lay-up cutting the lead to the 20-16. The Lions were getting plenty of opportunities to cut into the lead, but hitting just eight of 31 shots kept Eckerd ahead. Saint Leo also committed 11 first half turnovers, and the Tritons capitalized on them, scoring 15 points off the turnovers.  Eckerd also attempted 11 free throws in the first, connecting on eight, while the Lions took just two, hitting both. | EC 36-22 |

2H | Following a 9-0 opening run, Belling hit his third three of the game to halt the Tritons run. With 12:52 to play, the Tritons inflated their lead to a game-high 26 point spread. Saint Leo had to scratch and claw their way back into the game. With 9:05 left to play, Tyreece Brice hit a three-point shot, and got fouled for the four-point play opportunity. He converted the play, cutting the lead to 18. The Lions kept clawing, cutting the lead to 16 with 4:45 to play. With 2:04 left to play, Saint Leo cut the lead to just 11, and an offensive foul on the Tritons, gave the Lions another opportunity. They converted on a Lawrence Watt lay-up after Marcus Dewberry found him on the second-chance opportunity. Watt followed with a second-straight basket. A deep two from Dewberry cut the lead down to seven with just 28.7 seconds to play. A few last ditch efforts from the Lions wouldn't fall, and Eckerd free throws sealed the game. | EC 80-68 |

Points to Note

  • Dewberry finished with a game-high 22 points, 20 of which came in the second half. Fifteen of those 20 second-half points came in the final 5:28 of the game.
  • Freshman Lawrence Watt finished with a season-high 12 points.
  • Saint Leo connected on 12 of 14 free throw attempts. They also forced the Tritons into 15 turnovers, converting 19 points off turnover.

Coach's Quotes
"I was definitely concerned coming into tonight's game because we are a young team, and we had two big wins this last weekend. So coming in I was a concerned that might play a factor. You can't play five minutes in a college basketball game in this league, you have to play all 40 minutes. I thought we played the last five minutes of the game, had we played the way we are capable of playing like in the last five minutes throughout the whole game, we would have given ourselves a chance to win. But I don't think we did that, I just had concerns coming into the game and it was exactly what I thought, and we had a let-down."

For the Tritons

  • Four different players scored in double figures for the hosts. Trevon Young led the way with 14 points and 10 rebounds, E.J. Moody followed with 12, Jerrick Stevenson with 11, and Drushaun McLaurn with 10 points and 9 boards.
  • The Tritons out-rebounded the Lions 45-29, and out-scored them in the paint 36-26.

Up next
Saint Leo hosts Nova Southeastern on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 4 P.M.

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