Saint Leo Hosts Nova Wednesday in SSC Quarterfinal

Saint Leo Hosts Nova Wednesday in SSC Quarterfinal

SAINT LEO, Fla. - The Saint Leo men's basketball team heads into the Sunshine State Conference Tournament as the fourth seed, and hosts the fifth-seeded Nova Southeastern Sharks on Wednesday, March 2nd at 7:00 p.m. in the Marion Bowman Activities Center.

The Lions finished the regular season at 18-10 overall and held a 10-6 mark in the SSC. With the 18 wins, head coach Vince Alexander tied the most wins by a first year head coach and will look to improve that mark in the tournament.

TICKET PRICES ... 
Saint Leo will honor its regular season ticket prices, as well the Pride Pass.

  • $5 – Adults                           
  • $4 - Visiting students and seniors
  • Free - Children under 12       
  • Free - Saint Leo students, faculty and staff with a valid Saint Leo ID.

LAST TIME OUT …
In Saint Leo's last action, Saturday, February 27th, the Lions defeated Tampa 74-59 on senior night in the Bowman Center where lone senior put up seven points and grabbed five rebounds. Tyreece Brice sparked the offense off the bench netting 19 points just ahead of Caleb Stewart's 17 points. Marcus Dewberry added 13 points for the Lions.

THE SSC TOURNAMENT LAYOUT …
Seeds: No. 1 Barry (21-5, 12-4), No. 2 Eckerd (22-6, 12-4), No. 3 Rollins (21-7, 12-4), No. 4 Saint Leo (18-10, 10-6), No. 5 Nova Southeastern (11-15, 6-10), No. 6 Lynn (12-14, 6-10), No. 7 Florida Tech (14-14, 5-11), No. 8 Florida Southern (10-18, 5-11)

All quarterfinal games will be hosted at the higher seeds with a 7:00 p.m. start time. The semifinals games, noon and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, and the championship game, Sunday, March 6 at 1:00 p.m., are held at the ICI Center in Daytona Beach, at Embry-Riddle.

No. 1 seed Barry hosts No. 8 seed Florida Southern, where the winner of the game faces the winner of the No. 5 Nova Southeastern at No. 4 Saint Leo game.

No. 2 Eckerd hosts No. 7 Florida Tech and that winner faces the No. 3 Rollins vs. No. 6 Lynn winner.

THE MATCHUP …
Saint Leo enters the matchup as the fourth rank with a 18-10 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the Sunshine State Conference where Nova Southeastern enters as the fifth rank at a 11-15 record and a 6-10 mark in the SSC. The Sharks moved into a tie for fifth with Lynn before a tie breaker moved them ahead of the Fighting Knights.

On the season Saint Leo holds the 2-0 record as the Lions defeated the Sharks 93-88 at home in November before traveling to Fort Lauderdale in January and leaving with a 80-61 victory.

In the first meeting, four Lions dropped double-figures led by Caleb Stewart who scored 26 points. Ryan Burnett put in 13 points as Lawrence Watt scored 13 off the bench for Saint Leo. Marcus Dewberry finished off the double-digit scoring with 11 points. Nova Southeastern had four in double-figures as well led by Chris Page's 24 points.

In January's meeting all scoring was a little more spread out. Tyreece Brice sparked the Lions with 26 points off the bench as Marcus Dewberry chipped in 11 points. The Sharks were led by Harrison Goodrick with 16 points.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY …
The Lions hold a 12-30 record in the SSC tournament with two second place finishes where the Sharks are 5-11 all-time in the tournament. Saint Leo will look to make it to the championship game to capture their first tournament title in program history. The Lions have won the regular season title once and have been the runner-ups in the tournament back in 1986 and with the most recent in 2013.

Saint Leo will look to hold off Nova Southeastern, where the tournament has had 12 games where the #5 has beat the #4 seed. The last time a #5 seed beat a #4 seed was 2013 when Rollins defeated Florida Tech 57-43. The Lions were part of two 'upsets', once in 1994 when they defeated Florida Tech, 87-74, and in 1978 when the Lions beat Florida Southern 54-44.

COACH A (+) …
Vince Alexander, who is warmly called 'Coach A' around the athletic department, is one of the most winningest active coaches in all of Division II men's basketball and recently eclipsed the 300 win margin on February 6th in an overtime win. At the time, Alexander was one of 24 active coaches to reach 300 wins in D-II all-time. Being one of those 24 active coaches, Alexander is only one of 79 to do so in Division II coaching only. Saint Leo has wins over nationally ranked opponents this year. The Lions recorded a 93-90 overtime win against #12 Alabama-Huntsville and an 87-84 home victory over #10 Eckerd to highlight the season. His 18 wins so far this season ties him for the most by a coach in their first season at Saint Leo. 

TRIED & TRUE TRIO …
This season Marcus Dewberry, Tyreece Brice, Caleb Stewart have teamed up to be a deadly trio. Combined, the three have led the Lions in scoring in 25 of the 28 games this season, Dewberry leading in nine games, while Brice and Stewart have led in eight games apiece. They have also led the team in rebounding on 24 different occasions, led by Stewart who did it in 12 games. One of them has also led the Lions in assists in every game, with Dewberry leading in 20 games.

TY-NY DETAILS …
Tyreece Brice finished the season fifth in the SSC in shooting percentage at 52.6-percent. While that feat is impressive, what is more impressive is height difference between Brice and the four players who are in front of him. Brice is listed at 5-foot-10 on Saint Leo's roster, an average of NINE inches shorter that the four athletes above him as Corbin Jackson (1st – 63.4%) is 6-foot-6, Adrian Gonzalez (2nd – 61.5%) is 6-foot-5, Tray Leonard (3rd – 59.0%) is 6-foot-9, and Harrison Goodrick (4th -56.9%) is 6-foot-8. And more impressively, Brice has maintained a high shooting percentage while taking 100 three-point field goal attempts, 42 more than the four combined. On his attempts inside the arch, Brice is connecting on 60.1-percent of his shots.

"Tha Carter III" …
Freshman Carter Belling has attempted 144 three-point field goal attempts this season, third most on the team, but of those who have attempted 100+, he has the second best shooting percentage at 38.2-percent, hitting 55. In games the Lions have won, Belling is shooting an impressive 43.1-percent, including hitting an average of 2.4 threes per game. In 14 games, he hit multiple threes, and in three games, he made 5-plus three points field goals. His most impressive shooting day was Jan. 2 vs. Palm Beach Atlantic when the freshman connected on six of eight from long range for a clip of 75-percent. He is also shooting 47-percent from deep inside the Marion Bowman Activities Center.

HOME SWEET HOME ...
On the season, the Lions are 14-2 inside the Marion Bowman Activities Center on the campus of Saint Leo University. At home, the Lions are averaging 87.1 points per game, 3.2 more than the season combined; they are also shooting 46.2-percent from the field, up from 45.2-percent. Defensively they improved as well, holding opponents to just 81.0 points per game, while on the season they allow 83.6 points. The Lions are also 2-0 in overtime games on the season, both played at home, topping Alabama-Huntsville and Lynn.

IN JUST A SINGLE SEASON ...
Marcus Dewberry has cracked the top-10 in single-season points score, sitting tied for 7th at 549, as well as assists, sitting at 9th with 133 assists this season. Caleb Stewart sits tied for 8th in single season blocks with 43 so far.

JUST DEW IT ...
Marcus Dewberry is in position to call himself one of the best players in Division II basketball. With around 300 men's basketball teams in DII, and roughly an average of 12 guys per team, that roughly 3,600 student-athletes in men's basketball alone. Dewberry finds himself ranked in the top-100 in 12 different categories, putting him in the exclusive top 2.8-percent of those student-athletes. Dewberry is ranked 73rd in points per game, 65th in three-point field goal percentage and total field goals made, 64th in three-point field goals per game, 58th in total points, 57th in three-point field goal attempts, 56th in assists per game, 51st in total three-point field goals made, 46th in total field goals attempts, 41st in total assists, and even more exclusively, Dewberry is ranked 16th in free-throw percentage, and 2nd in total triple doubles.