Although the final score was a double-digit victory for the visitors from Winter Park, the game was close throughout the entire 40 minutes.
In the first half, the Lions surrendered an early 11 point lead to the Tars, but then stormed back after the 15-minute media timeout. Saint Leo would go on a 12-2 run over the span of the next seven minutes to tie the score at 24. During that Saint Leo spurt, junior Jordan Prais scored six of 12 points to put the Lions back into contention.
A half that saw four lead changes and three ties came to a close with a small Rollins rally that was shut down by a trey from Kyle Rowland with just 67 seconds remaining.
Nearly and carbon-copy second half saw Rollins catch SLU sleeping early on and take an 11 point lead into the 10-minute media break. Out of the timeout, and reenergized by the Lions’ coaching staff, Saint Leo would slowly whittle down the lead to just three points but they would not be able to close the gap any farther. In fact, the Lions would see a three-point margin three times in the final seven minutes, but were not able to hit that clutch shot to put the Green & Gold over the hump. Rollins would seemingly hit the big shot anytime the Lions drew close, leaving the Lions frustrated throughout.
Saint Leo would try to close the margin a final time through fouls, but Rollins converted their free-throw attempts to salt the game away.
A very evenly matched game on the stat sheet saw neither team with more than a two-point advantage in points in the paint, points off turnovers, second chance points, and points from the bench. Both teams even made nearly the same amount of buckets, with the Tars hitting 29 shots compared to the Lions’ 27, but the difference was in three-pointers and free-throws, where Rollins made three more treys and three more free-throws then the Lions.
Another night where scoring was evenly spread around the Saint Leo starting lineup saw the Lions get 20 points from junior Quentin Cullop and 19 from senior Kyle Rowland. Junior Josue Vazquez, the reigning conference Player of the Week dropped in 14 points while 1000-point man Jordan Prais added 12. Sophomore Matt Salay’s 10 points put every Saint Leo starter score in double-digits.
Saint Leo will look to regroup on Wednesday as they stay home to face the conference’s preseason top team in Florida Southern College. The Lions and Mocs will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.