SAINT LEO, Fla. – This was the response that Saint Leo Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Madagan expected from his team.
Following Wednesday’s loss to Rollins, the Lions came out on Saturday afternoon and left no questions concerning whether they could recover as they dominated Florida Tech 84-65 in Sunshine State Conference action from the Marion Bowman Center.
Saint Leo opened the game in a back-and-forth battle with the Panthers, where no team gained more than a five point advantage in the first 12 minutes. That span of the game saw eight lead changes and four ties, but a trey by Matt Salay with 7:45 remaining in the first half gave the Lions a lead they would not relinquish.
SLU would close out the first half on an 18-9 run, outscoring Florida Tech two-to-one and taking an 11-point lead into halftime.
Things only got better for Saint Leo in the second half as they opened up as much as a 25 point lead before Coach Madagan began to rest his starters with a little under three minutes left to play.
The Lions saw three starters post double figures in scoring with Jordan Prais leading the way with another double-double, his seventh of the season. Prais was 9-for-13 shooting and scored 20 points in just 28 minutes, while pulling down 16 rebounds; all but three coming on the defensive side of the ball. His 20-point night saw him eclipse the 400-point plateau for the season and he now has 1196 points for his career, which puts him 14th all-time at Saint Leo.
Kyle Rowland added 14 points and three blocks, adding to his all-time blocking record which currently stands at 132. Quentin Cullop quietly chipped in 13 points and nine assists, one contribution short of a double-double as well.
As a team, the Lions shot 42 percent (30-71) overall and 40 percent (8-for-20) from the three-point line. A hot first-half saw the Green & Gold make 50 percent of the shots from the field and from behind the arc.
The miscellaneous stats saw SLU lead every category, pacing Tech in points in the paint, points off turnovers, second-chance buckets and bench points. The Lions also out-rebounded the visitors 51-to-39.
Saint Leo hits the road for the next two games as they visit Lakeland on Wednesday for an SSC tilt with Florida Southern, currently the conference’s top-team, and then a Valentine’s Day showdown in Boca Raton to face Lynn. The game against Florida Southern will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. at FSC’s Jenkins Field House and will be carried live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.