DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -The Saint Leo men's basketball team plays in the first semifinal game of the 2016 Sunshine State Conference tournament against first seed #17 Barry on Saturday, March 5th at 12:00 p.m. in the ICI Center on the campus of Embry-Riddle.
After finishing the regular season at 18-10 and 10-6 in the SSC, Saint Leo advanced after a 82-73 victory in the quarterfinal matchup over Nova Southeastern on Wednesday, March 2nd to notch their 19th win of the year. The 19th win marks the most wins by a first year head coach in program history. The Lions will look to keep the momentum going heading into the tournament.
TICKET PRICES ...
$10 Adults (All Day)
$5 Youth (Age 13-College) (All Day)
$5 Seniors (All Day)
$5 Children (Age 12 and under) (All Day)
FREE SSC Institution Students Free with proper SSC institutional ID
LAST TIME OUT … In Saint Leo's last action, Wednesday, March 2nd, the Lions defeated Nova Southeastern 82-72 in quarterfinal action. Saint Leo was led in scoring by Marcus Dewberry who had 26 points and Caleb Stewart who recorded a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Carter Belling chipped in 14 points while Tyreece Brice continues to provide the spark off the bench as he added 13 points.
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 defeated No. 8 seed Florida Southern, and will take on No. 4 Saint Leo who defeated No. 5 Nova Southeastern.
No. 2 Eckerd defeated No. 7 Florida Tech and take on No. 6 Lynn who upset No. 3 Rollins.
THE MATCHUP … This will be the third matchup of the season where Barry swept both regular season games this season by scores of 87-85 and 102-75. The Bucs barely slid past the Lions in Saint Leo in December, handing the Saint Leo one of only two of their home court loses this year. In the second matchup in Miami Shores in February, Barry was red-hot defeating Saint Leo 102-75.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY … The Lions hold a 13-30 record in the SSC tournament with two second place finishes where the Bucs are 15-24 with five second place finishes 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 knock off number one and nationally ranked 17 Barry in the first semifinal game of the SSC tournament on Saturday. The feat is not out of reach as it's tough for a team to win three games over the same opponent in a single season. In the tournament history, the No.4 seed has upset the No.1 seed four times with the last in 2004 when Eckerd upset Rollins 75-73. Saint Leo has been apart of the upset as the fourth seed in 1986 taking down first seeded Tampa 72-69.
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.
THE CAREER MAN ...
Following a 82-73, senior Trey Griseck (2012-16) became the winningest player in Saint Leo men's basketball history with 79 career wins, replacing former Lion Cale Girten (2011-15) who was a part of 78 wins during his career. Griseck has scored 423 points in his career, adding 194 rebounds, 89 assists, and 46 blocks.
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 26 of the 29 games this season, Dewberry leading in 10 games, while Brice and Stewart have led in eight games apiece. They have also led the team in rebounding on 25 different occasions, led by Stewart who did it in 13 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 ... Saint Leo used home court advantage to help win a majority of their games. The Lions posted a 15-2 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.