VALDOSTA, Ga. – The Saint Leo men’s basketball team rebounded in a solid way as the Lions upended the University of West Florida 84-75 in the Loop Pizza Grill Classic played at the VSU Complex on the campus of Valdosta State University.
The Lions managed to survive three rallies where the Argos erased near double-digit leads, including giving UWF a one-point lead in the opening minute of the second half.
In the first, the Lions answered an early West Florida lead with four baskets by senior Jordan Prais as he helped give SLU a 17-7 with 13 minutes left. After UWF dropped the Lion lead to three, Saint Leo responded by pushing the margin to 12 points after junior Jamal Thompson hit a trey with five minutes left.
SLU would keep a comfortable margin but would go cold from the field after Thompson’s three, only hitting one shot from the field for the remainder of the half. The Argonauts would outscore the Green & Gold 15-5, hitting three-straight 3-pointers to close out the half as SLU suddenly held a slim 33-31 lead into the lockers.
Out of the half UWF would take their slim 36-35 lead before the Lions regained the advantage and pushed it to as much as nine points at both the 12-minute and eight-minute mark.
With the score 62-53, UWF would tally the next eight points to draw within a single point before senior Eric Sharper would hit a free-throw to break the scoreless drought.
After Sharper’s free-shot, the Lions would quickly drain three layups and regain the comfortable nine-point margin, this time holding it for the remainder.
Unlike last night, where turnovers hurt SLU in their loss to Valdosta State, the Lions managed to keep the Argos from capitalizing on SLU miscues as UWF only outscored the Lions by one at 17-16. The biggest stat came off the points in the paint as the SLU big-men accounted for 44 points compared to 32 for UWF.
Prais led the Lions with another double-double, dropping in a game-high 27 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Senior Josue Vazquez dropped in 12 points and Thompson as well as Jeremy Jackson added 11 each.