MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – The Saint Leo University men’s basketball team (7-6, 1-0 SSC) began their SSC schedule with a riveting 72-71 overtime road win against the Barry University Buccaneers (5-6, 0-1 SSC), Wednesday afternoon from Miami Shores, Fla.
Jordan Prais, after hitting the 1,000 point milestone in the Lions last game against Fairbanks, came through in the clutch hitting a game-winning jump shot at buzzer to give SLU a one point overtime victory.
The Lions jumped up early on the Bucs’ scoring 17 points in the first 5 minutes of action and claimed a nine point advantage, their largest lead of the game.
Despite the hot start by the Saint Leo, Barry settled down and took control of the next five plus minutes going on a 13-1 run and giving them a four point lead.
SLU refused to fold though, as Kyle Rowland used a lay-up to push the lead back on the side of Saint Leo with 6:05 left.
Barry bounced back taking a five-point lead with four minutes to go and eventually entered the break clinging to a two point lead.
The Lions came out of the locker room energized forcing two Bucs’ turnovers and scoring the first nine points of the half taking a seven point lead.
SLU played fantastic defense, as well, keeping Barry off the scoreboard for nearly the first six minutes. The margin was eventually pushed to eight in favor of the Lions due to the inside presence of Prais and Rowland.
Still, the Buccaneers did not quit and began a run of their own, eventually cutting the Lions lead down to one and momentarily taking a one point lead twice inside the nine minute mark.
However, the Lions remained resilient as Matt Salay regained the lead for Saint Leo hitting a three-point basket with 7:15 to go.
After only committing six turnovers the first 37 minutes of play, the Lions committed four in the final four minutes keeping the Buccaneers chances alive. SLU clung to a two point lead until Barry converted a shot to tie the game with 11 seconds to go in regulation.
The Lions gained a four point lead in the first minute of the overtime session and kept momentum until Barry struck back with less than two minutes to play. The Buccaneers gained a one point lead with 1:30 to go and extended it to three points with 14 seconds to play. Josue Vazquez refused to let the Lions fall though, droving the lane and hitting a crucial lay-up with ten seconds to play.
A missed Bucs’ free throw attempt game the Lions one last shot with three seconds to go in the game and down by one. Salay inbounded the ball near the Lions bench to Quentin Cullop at the top of the key; Prais then broke from underneath the basket and curled to the right side of the free throw line. He received the ball from Cullop and, with a hand in his face, hit the game-winning jumper with no time remaining on the clock.
The Lions played fantastic all-round basketball shooting 47 percent from the floor (30-for-64) and 50 percent from the behind the three-point line (6-for-12).
The Lions only committed 12 turnovers for the game and out-rebounded the Buccaneers 44-to-34.
Prais led all scorers with 20 points while gobbling up 15 rebounds. Three other Lions achieved double-digits, as Cullop scored 15 while Vazquez and Rowland scored 11 and 10 respectively. Salay chipped in nine points going 3-for-4 from behind the arch.
The Lions continue SSC action Saturday, January 3, as they return home from nearly a months absence to open home conference action against the Rollins College Tars. Tip-off for the game is scheduled for 4:00 pm. Prais will also be honored for his 1,000 point achievement before the start of the game.