LAKELAND, Fla. – The Saint Leo men’s basketball team could not manage the same magic they had in their January upset of the then-No. 2 Florida Southern Moccasins as the host Mocs got a measure of revenge on Wednesday night as they handed the Lions a 101-70 defeat in Sunshine State Conference action from the Jenkins Field House on the FSC campus.
The first minute set the tone for the entire night. The Mocs (22-3, 11-3 SSC) won the opening tip and missed their first shot, but FSC’s John Thompson was there for the rebound and put-back to give them a 2-0 lead. After Saint Leo tied the game on a jumper by Jordan Prais, Thompson collected another offensive rebound and bucket to give Florida Southern another two-point lead.
Saint Leo (11-16, 4-9 SSC) used 3-pointers by Prais and Dominick Robinson to take an 8-7 lead not long after, but again Thompson put the Mocs back in front with a turn-around jumper in the lane for his third basket in the first three minutes. The Lions would get two more 3-pointers from Robinson and Brandon Powell to go ahead 16-11, but the rest of the night belonged to Thompson and the Moccasins.
Starting with a short jumper by Damon Ellison at the 14:33 mark, Florida Southern scored 10 consecutive points and out-scored the Lions 17-2 over the next five-and-a-half minutes. Five different players made baskets for the Mocs during that run, which included pair of 3-point field goals by Terry Jenkins.
After trailing by as many as 12, Saint Leo was able to get the deficit back down to five, and trailed 42-36 with less than three minutes to play in the first half. However, the Mocs got eight more points from Brandon Jenkins before halftime, and a three-point play from Thompson to quickly push their lead back to 13.
Powell made a 3-point shot at the halftime buzzer to get the Lions within 53-43, but they got no closer the rest of the game.
With Thompson working the boards, Florida Southern out-rebounded Saint Leo 52-32. The Lions came into the game leading the SSC in rebounding average.
Brandon Jenkins scored 15 points and had 10 assists. He also went four-for-six from 3-point range, helping the Mocs go for 10-for-22 as a team.
Saint Leo was led by Prais, who scored 16 points with four rebounds and three assists after missing the previous three games due to injury. He was one of four Lions in double figures, getting help from Robinson with 12 points, and Powell and Josue Vazquez with 10 apiece.
The Lions will return home for the first time in 10 days as they host Rollins College on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is set for 4:00 p.m. at the Bowman Center on the Saint Leo campus.