Men’s Basketball Closes Out Season at SSC Championship
Kissimmee, Fla. – A 12-4 run late in the game brought Lynn University’s men’s basketball to within five but the Fighting Knights could not complete the comeback, falling 63-53 in the Sunshine State Conference Championship. Aaron Harrision led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting while Haki Stampley and Brandon Smith combined for 17 points off the bench. Lynn ends the season 9-18 overall.
The Blue & White began to make it rain threes with 4:41 to play and trailing 54-39. Smith drained a pair of shots from beyond the arc, with two free-throw shots from Josh Soto sandwiched in-between, to cut the deficit to nine points.
A missed shot at the charity stripe from the Lions (22-7) was picked up by Lynn and Stampley followed with a long three from the left wing. The Blue & White turned in a solid defensive stand on the next play and Stampley once again converted on a shot from deep, this time from the right wing, to pull the Fighting Knights to within five, 58-53.
Missed free throws on the next possession by Lynn forced the team into fouling and the Lions would convert on five consecutive shots at the charity stripe to end the team’s hopes of another upset.
Harrison had Lynn thinking upset in the early-goings of the match-up, scoring seven points, pulling down two rebounds, blocking two shots and earning two steals. The junior guard stripped Spenser Mitchell and went coast-to-coast for a thundering dunk, which quieted the Lions’ fans.
After scoring nine of the team’s first 13 points, Saint Leo began to clamp down on Harrison. Herb Thomas picked up some of the slack with four points on back-to-back buckets but the Lions would use a 17-5 run to close out the half leading 26-18. The Fighting Knights shot 47.1 percent from the field and held SLU to 32.1 percent.
Saint Leo came out aggressive in the second half and built up a lead by as many as 16 points, 36-20, before Lynn was able to start to slowly chip away.
For the game, Lynn shot 44.2 percent overall and 30.4 percent from three-point range but only 57.1 at the line. Saint Leo hit 42.2 percent of its shots, 36.4 percent from downtown and 63.8 percent from the stripe and out-rebounded Lynn 31-28.
The Fighting Knights return all five starters and 14 letterwinners for next season.