Lions Stay Undefeated in SSC Play After Gutsy 2OT Win at Barry
MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -The Saint Leo men's basketball team notched their 11th victory of the season with an exhilarating 84-79 2OT win over Barry on Saturday night. Behind a team-leading 22 points from Marcus Ruh, the Lions were able to hold off a battling Barry team to move to 4-0 in the Sunshine State Conference.
Aside from Ruh's 22 points, he contributed two assists and five rebounds. Also reaching double figures for the Lions were Jerrel Harris and Trent Thomas. Harris notched 21 points, including a stretch in overtime when he scored eight consecutive points for the Lions. Trent Thomas totaled 10 points and seven rebounds on the night. Thomas also gathered a crucial loose ball late in the second overtime period that led to a Saint Leo scoring possession. Shaun Adams managed to score six points and grab nine rebounds in the game, but his most important play may have come in the final second of regulation when he was able to get a piece of Barry's potentially game-winning shot.
In the first half Saint Leo got out to a 13-point lead after Trey Griseck hit back-to-back threes to start the game. From there, it was the Lions' collective offensive effort and the aggressive defensive play that led to the 13-point lead. Barry began to heat up from the outside though, hitting 6-of-13 three-pointers in the first half to cut the lead at halftime to 34-29.
The intensity was turned up a notch in the second half, as back and forth baskets began to take over the game. Barry was able to make a run midway through the half and cut into Saint Leo's lead. The Bucs took the lead with 6:37 remaining in game—their first since 19:46 of the first half. The two teams would trade baskets for the remaining of regulation and on the Lions' last possession a beautifully designed play was unable to turn into points when a layup rimmed out.
In the first overtime period neither team led by more than a basket, and when time expired the teams were tied for the seventh time in the game. When the second overtime period came, the Lions' Harris took over the game, scoring eight consecutive points for Saint Leo that allowed them to take a four point advantage over Barry with 1:19 and control of the game.
In total, there were eight ties and 11 lead changes in the victory for the Lions. Saint Leo was able to convert 19 points off of turnovers compared to just 11 for the Bucs. Both teams shot the ball well, with the Lions shooting 46 percent and the Bucs at 47 percent.
The Saint Leo men's basketball team gets back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 16 when the team takes a short trip into Tampa to face the University of Tampa Spartans. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.