SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo University men’s basketball team (2-0) won a physical match-up against the University of Puerto Rico – Bayamon (0-1) by the final score of 75-59, Friday evening at the Marion Bowman Activities Center.
The two teams struggled for momentum in the first seven minutes, each trying to gain a feel for the other team’s style. But the Lions finally gained the upper hand on the Cowboys, as Anthony Gomez hit a three point shot to put SLU up 18-15 with twelve minutes to go.
Saint Leo began to play their brand of basketball, taking a 22-17 lead on strong inside play from Jordan Prais and Josue Vazquez. However, Bayamon battled back, cutting the lead to two points, on terrific three point shooting, still, the Lions maintained their ground. After Prais dropped in two of his 13 first half points on a layup to make the score 26-22, Saint Leo took off on a 14-9 run to close out the half.
SLU hit 15 of their 25 field goal attempts in the period entered the locker room with a 40-31 lead, despite seven turnovers
A much more physical Lions team showed up in the second half, immediately attacking the heart of the Cowboys defense, as Prais and Kyle Rowland increased the lead to 46-33 with layups. SLU picked up their defense, as well, going on a 19-6 run and forcing the Cowboys into taking poor shot choices. During the run, four of the Lions baskets were inside the paint, while connecting on six free throws.
The run sealed the deal for the Lions, but a late charge by the Cowboys and poor free throw shooting towards the end of the game made the game closer than it appeared.
The Lions shot an impressive 55 percent from the field, but only hit three of their ten shots from behind the arch and shot 66 percent from the free throw line.
SLU returns to the Bowman Center as challengers Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras makes a visit. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 4:00 pm.