SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo men’s basketball team pushed their record to 5-1 after the Lions defeated visiting Puerto Rico – Bayamon 71-65 in Monday-night action at the Bowman Center.
A scrappy team overall, the visitors from Bayamon, Puerto Rico made their annual trip to the Saint Leo campus and forced the Lions into playing a fast-paced, competitive game for the full 40 minutes. Although the matchup finished with one tie score and Saint Leo never relinquishing the lead, the Cowboys made things interesting connecting on six 3-pointers and nearly erasing a late 15-point advantage by the Lions.
Ultimately proving to be the difference-maker, SLU would outscore the visitors in bench points 22-7 as senior Saladeem Dewberry came from his reserve spot to bucket seven points and Allen Young added six.
Shooting over 44 percent (26-of-59) from the floor, the Lions were lead by sophomore Matt Kendrick, whose near double-double saw him connect on nine shots and score 20 points. Defensively, the seven-foot native of Tampa, Fla. also snatched nine rebounds.
Also in double-digits for the Lions on the evening were Quentin Cullop and Jeremy Jackson, who added 12 and 11 points respectively.
Despite their decent percentage shooting from the field, the Lions were just 3-of-19 (15.8 percent) from behind the 3-point arc and free throws still seemed to be an issue as the Lions were 16-of-26 (61.5 percent) from behind the charity stripe.
Despite their struggles in certain areas, Saint Leo managed to outscore the Cowboys34-24 in the paint and 14-10 in second-shot opportunities.
For the visiting Bayamon Cowboys (0-2), Melvin Rivera went 11-of-22 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line as he poured in a game-high 31 points, also draining four 3-pointers. He was joined by Javier Ayuso, whose 14 points made him the only other Cowboy to score in double figures.
Saint Leo will face one more Puerto Rico University this year as they host Rio Piedras on Wednesday afternoon in a pre-Thanksgiving matchup. An unusual mid-week, early afternoon start time greets both teams as things will get started at 2:00 p.m. in the Bowman Center.