LAKELAND, Fla. – Playing as the tournament’s final seed, the No. 8 Saint Leo men’s basketball team found themselves in an early deficit and could not recover as their season came to an end with a 77-63 loss to No. 1 Florida Southern in the quarterfinal round of the 2010 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Sunshine State Conference Tournament on Wednesday evening.

The game started out in rather odd fashion, as neither team could sink a shot in the first three and a half minutes.  Despite that fact that both teams were putting up shot-after-shot, and that the host Moccasins were the best shooting team in the SSC, zeroes were still on the scoreboard.

After Florida Southern drained the game’s first basket with 16:42 left in the first, the cap had been removed from their bucket as they began to hit shots from all over the floor, but the lid was still on the Saint Leo basket.  After starting off missing every shot they took, the Mocs hit seemingly every shot after that first one fell.

While the Mocs had the hot hand, the Lions still could not find the right stroke as they would see a goose-egg stay on their half of the board almost eight minutes into the game. 

The Lions would then see the Mocs jump out to a 16-0 lead before Jordan Prais sank two free-throws at the 12:17 mark of the first half.  The Lions would get their first bucket from the floor with a Jeremy Jackson jumper less than 30 seconds later, but the conference’s co-champions had already done their damage.

The No. 1 seed would not let the Lions get any closer than four points as the Mocs kept the game at a double-digit margin for most of the game.

The Mocs advanced to the semifinal round at the Don Taft University Center on Saturday where they will face Barry University while the Lions’ season ends in the tournament’s quarterfinal round for the second straight year.

In their final game of the season, the Lions were led by Jackson, who scored 14 points and senior Josue Vazquez finished with 11 points.  Senior Jordan Prais finished his career with a 10-point performance as he pulled down eight rebounds in the loss.