TAMPA, Fla. – The Saint Leo men’s basketball team went toe-to-toe with one of their biggest rivals before falling flat in the second half and dropping a 70-52 decision on the road to the University of Tampa in Sunshine State Conference action at the Bob Martinez Center on Wednesday evening.
The Lions (7-10, 1-4 SSC) spent a good majority of the first half as the leading team on the scoreboard as SLU jumped out to as much as a five point lead before Tampa took the lead with 5:55 remaining in the first half.
After the Lions surrendered the lead for the final time in a half that featured five lead changes, the host Spartans began to pull away with an 11-2 run to close out the half, taking a 33-23 lead into the lockers.
Unfortunately for Lion fans, the second half saw the Tampa lead get bigger as the Spartans answered every Lions basket with one of their own. Tampa managed to stop three Saint Leo rallies, the biggest coming with 8:25 remaining when the Lions cut the lead to just four.
After sophomore Saladeem Dewberry drained two free-throws to cut the UT lead to 52-48, Tampa responded with an 8-0 run, seemingly deflating the Lions’ hopes. While Tampa, behind a suddenly hot Rashad Callaway, would add to the score, holding the Lions to just one field goal and two free-throws over the remainder.
The Lions shot 38.5 percent (20-for-52) for the game as Quentin Cullop scored 17 points to lead the Lions. Junior Josue Vazquez added 15 points and Jordan Prais dropped in 13 in the loss.
Saint Leo looks to rebound from their recent skid as they face Lynn University at home on Saturday afternoon. The Lions and Fighting Knights will tip-off at 4:00 p.m.