MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – A tale of two halves sent the Saint Leo men’s basketball team to a 75-60 loss against Barry University in Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday night. The Lions shot almost 47 percent from the floor in the first half, but shot a dismal 28 percent in the second as the Buccaneers ran away with the win.
The first 20 minutes were filled with action as neither team built a very large advantage. Saint Leo (8-13, 2-6 SSC) took their first lead just a minute into the game when freshman Dominick Robinson set up from distance and planted a 3-pointer. Barry (13-5, 5-3 SSC) would respond by scoring the next seven points and taking a 10-5 lead, one which the Bucs would eventually stretch to six, and the largest margin of the first half.
Taking the advantage back on a Robinson jumper with 5:22 to go, the Lions would eventually stretch their lead to four points before the Buccaneers would again knot the score.
Looking for the final shot of the half, and to try and retake the lead into the lockers, Saint Leo would see a bit of foreshadowing as Robinson would misplay the ball and turn it over to the Bucs with eight seconds left. Barry’s Erick Nsangou would take the inbounds pass at half court and drive down, nailing a layup as time expired to give Barry a 40-37 advantage.
The second half was all Buccaneers as the host came out of the halftime break and built an 11-point advantage on SLU before the Lions got their first basket. The run, at 8-0 to start the half, sealed the game for the Lions as they could not respond with enough of a rally to cut into Barry’s lead.
The loss overshadow a rather momentous moment as senior Jordan Prais became the all-time scoring leader of four-year players at Saint Leo when he nailed a free-throw at the 7:22 mark of the first half. Prais passed Mike O’Brien, who name has hung in that spot for almost 40 years. Prais would end the night posting his 10th double-double of the year, scoring 10 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
Senior Josue Vazquez would lead all Saint Leo scorers with 13 points while Robinson and fellow freshman Matt Kendrick would add 11 points each.
Senior transfer Tony Dennison would lead the Buccaneers with 21 points.
The Lions will return home on Saturday afternoon where they will take on Nova Southeastern in their first rematch in the Sunshine State Conference. The Sharks beat the Lions 85-74 in Ft. Lauderdale at the end of December. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at the Bowman Center.