Saint Leo, Fla. (January 30, 2008) – Led by junior Kyle Rowland (Jr., North Port, Fla.), the Saint Leo men’s basketball team (9-9, 3-5 SSC) got its second consecutive win with a thrilling 82-80 victory over visiting Florida Tech (14-4, 4-4 SSC) on Wednesday night at the Bowman Center.
Rowland scored a game-high tying 18 points, leading four Saint Leo players in double-figures. Dusty Driggs (Jr., Sharpsville, Ind.) scored 14 points, including a key four-point play and going 4-of-4 at the free throw line in the closing stages to ice the win. Jonathan Banks (Sr., Tampa, Fla.) added 13 points, while sophomore Thomas Kaiser (Tampa, Fla.) scored in double figures for the second consecutive game with 10 points. Jordan Prais (So., Lakeland, Fla.) scored nine points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in the win.
Each Florida Tech starter scored in double figures on the night, led by Arthur Richardson who matched Rowland with 18 points. Tech guard Ryan Ballard was just two rebounds shy of a triple-double with 13 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.
Florida Tech led throughout the first half, opening the contest on a 10-2 run and eventually leading by 11 just 7:09 into the game. Saint Leo kept it close, and Kaiser drained a three with 1:53 left in the half to close the gap to one. Tech closed the half on a 5-1 run to take a 43-38 lead at half-time.
The Lions continued to battle early in the second half, tying the game for the first time 2:54 into the stanza. The lead exchanged hands a total of five times in the second 20 minutes, and there were seven ties. The Panthers pulled out to a nine point lead with 6:49 left in the contest, but Saint Leo used an 11-2 run capped off with a four-point play by Driggs to tie the score with 2:21 remaining. The Lions led by one late when Driggs made four straight at the free throw line to ice the victory and give the Lions a winning finish to the first half of the Sunshine State Conference season.
Saint Leo will return to the hardwood on Saturday when it hosts Palm Beach Atlantic in non-conference action. The game is scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. opening tip at the Bowman Center.