Tampa, Fla. (January 9, 2008) – The Saint Leo University men’s basketball team (6-6, 0-2 SSC) was upended 77-67 on the road by the University of Tampa (9-2, 3-0 SSC) on Wednesday night in Sunshine State Conference action.  The win was the fifth straight for the Spartans.

Saint Leo was led by Jordan Prais (So., Lakeland, Fla.) who scored 19 points, while Kyle Rowland (Jr., North Port, Fla.) added 15 points and Jonathan Banks (Sr., Tampa, Fla.) chipped in with 12 points.  However, the Lions had no answer for Tampa’s Chris Evans who led all scorers with a game-high 28 points in the win.  Spartan forward Jeremy Black also registered a double-double with 19 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

The first half featured a number of runs by both teams, as the lead exchanged hands four times and there were two ties.  Tampa opened the game on a 9-1 run, but 12 unanswered points by Saint Leo gave the Lions a 13-9 lead with 11:58 left in the opening half.  The Spartans used an 8-0 run to regain the lead at 20-16, but SLU responded with six straight points including back-to-back jumpers by Prais to move back in front.  The Spartans eventually built their largest lead of nine at half-time, scoring the final five points of the frame.

Saint Leo came out of the break on a 14-5 run to tie the game at 39-39 when Dusty Driggs (Jr., Sharpsville, Ind.) drained a three-pointer with 16:18 left in the second half.  However, the Spartans again pulled away, using a 14-4 run to open up a 10-point lead.  The Lions pulled to within four on two occasions but UT closed the game on an 8-3 run, and led by as many as 11 points in the closing stages to remain perfect in the SSC.

Saint Leo will head to Boca Raton, Fla. this weekend for another Sunshine State Conference game at Lynn University.  Opening tip is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Lynn’s de Hoernle Center.