Lions Prevail Over Sailfish in Pre-Christmas Showdown

Written by: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for External Operations

Box Score

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The Sailfish men’s basketball team welcomed in Saint Leo University on Friday afternoon for both team’s final action before the Christmas holiday. In the end the Lions withstood each Palm Beach Atlantic attempt at a second-half comeback as they earned a 72-63 win at the Rubin Arena.

The win pushes Saint Leo to 10-2 on the season while Palm Beach Atlantic drops to 3-9 with one final game left on Dec. 31 to close out the first-half of the season.

A sloppy and sluggish display from the onset, neither team could seemingly get into any type of offensive rhythm. The South Region rivals combined to commit 48 turnovers in the contest while a total of 51 fouls were whistled in the 40 minutes of action.

Early on it was the Sailfish who controlled the momentum as junior guard Evin Graham knocked down a 3-pointer at the 18:17 mark to move in front 6-2 over the visiting Lions.

After battling back-and-forth during the early stages of the contest it would be the Lions who broke a 15-15 tie with a pair of Jaylon Bell free-throws with 8:41 to go that seemed to spark a run. SLU rattled off the next 10 points of the contest and took their first double-digit lead a few minutes later on a Jerrel Harris trey as they moved in front 31-20 with 3:05 to play in the half.

Saint Leo would settle for a 37-24 lead into the break as they shot slightly better than PBA with a 37.5-percent (12-32) mark from the floor while the Sailfish settled in at 32-percent (8-25). The Lions took advantage of the whistle-happy style of play by making 17 trips to the foul line in the opening half while knocking down 11 of those attempts.

A slow start to the second-half would not allow the Sailfish to make an early run at the Lions’ lead as Saint Leo extended their advantage to as many as 20 points when Marcus Dewberry came through with a bucket with 6:45 to go in regulation.

PBA finally got in gear around this time however and a 7-0 spurt would eventually lead to just a 10-point deficit at 62-52 with 4:36 to go following an Alan Hardy layup underneath.

Some late heroics by senior Christian Martinez drew the ‘Fish a bit closer yet with a 3-pointer to cut the Lions’ advantage to 71-63 but with time not on their side the Sailfish would fall as Saint Leo dribbled the game out down the stretch.

Graham was once again the team’s top scorer with 18 points as the Fort Myers native added 12 boards for another double-double in 37 minutes of playing time. He finished 5-of-13 from the field overall while going 6-of-7 at the charity stripe.

Martinez added 12 points off the bench while Ronnell Ross just missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes of action.

Palm Beach Atlantic finished with a 33.9-percent (21-62) showing from the field while Saint Leo settled in at 38.-7-percent (23-58). PBA held a slight 43-41 rebounding edge while the Lions forced PBA into 26 turnovers while committing 22 miscues themselves.

The Lions were led by game-high honors of 23 points from Harris on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and 11-of-18 at the charity stripe. Dewberry chipped in 14 points off the Lions’ bench.

PBA will be off until Dec. 31st when they will host Johnson & Wales University at 2 pm in the Rubin Arena. 

Printable VersionOpen As Word Bookmark and Share
Palm Beach Atlantic UniversitySunshine State ConferenceNCAA Division IIATHLETICSITE.COM Partner