SAINT LEO, Fla. – Another double-double effort from senior Jordan Prais was not enough as the Saint Leo men’s basketball team fell 74-69 to visiting Northwood University (Fla.) in non-conference action from the Bowman Center on Friday evening.
It was a physical, back-and-forth battle for nearly the entire contest, one which featured 15 lead changes, 12 ties and 43 personal fouls.
In the first half, neither team could manage a wide margin, with the largest lead of five points by either team as the visiting Seahawks hit a jumper with 3:41 left to spread it to five. Saint Leo (5-7) would respond by closing out the half on a 9-2 run with five points coming from the right arm of SLU newcomer Dominick Robinson, helping to give the Lions a slim 30-28 lead at the halftime buzzer.
The visiting Hawks from West Palm Beach, Fla. would come out of the lockers and retake the lead with 17:24 left in the game. After the Lions answered with a bucket of their own, Northwood would go on a 13-2 run over the next three minutes to open up the game’s only double-digit lead, a 48-38 advantage with 13:37 to play.
The Lions would answer the Northwood (7-1) run with an 8-0 run of their own during a 2:15 span where SLU shut the visitors down to claw back into the game. After trading buckets, SLU would retake the lead on a Robinson trey with 8:54 left.
With time waning and the Lions holding onto a slim margin, SLU would pick the worst time to go cold from the field, getting just one point over the next 2:22 as the Seahawks pushed an 8-1 run on the Lions, giving the guests a 67-61 lead with 72 seconds left.
The Lions would try to foul the visitors to close the margin, but Northwood would hit 7-of-10 free throws over the final minute of the game to seal the win.
Individually, Prais would bucket another 25 points on a 7-of-15 night while he also pulled down 15 rebounds, notched three assists and added a steal and a block, all during 36 minutes of playing time. Robinson and junior Saladeem Dewberry added 10 points in the losing effort.
Northwood had four players in double figures with Jay Duncan leading the Seahawks’ way with 15 points.
The Lions were outshot as a team, hitting just 34 percent (21-of-62) of their shots from the field, compared to a 42 percent night (23-of-55) for the visitors. Things didn’t look much better for the Lions from behind the arc as Northwood hit true on 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) of their threes while the Lions went just 7-of-24 (29.2 percent).
Saint Leo will now have 12 days off as they take some time away from the hardwood for Christmas. SLU will next hit the court in Ft. Lauderdale on December 30th as they face Nova Southeastern in their first Sunshine State Conference tilt of the season. The Lions and Sharks will tip off at 7:30 p.m. in NSU’s Don Taft University Center in South Florida.