SAINT LEO, Fla. – Chris Malcolm's layup with five seconds left in overtime proved the difference as the visiting Rollins Tars snuck away with a 56-53 win in a Sunshine State Conference thriller on Saturday afternoon from the Marion Bowman Activities Center.
Locked in a defensive battle, Malcolm gained control of the ball with less than 12 seconds to play in the extra session and went coast-to-coast, avoiding Lion defenders and rolling the ball off the backboard to give the Tars the lead for good. The Lions' inbounds play with the clock ticking down was intercepted by Rollins (11-4, 4-1 SSC), ending the Green and Gold's hope of another conference upset.
"I thought we defended outstanding and we got some big stops until the very last possession," Head Coach Lance Randall said about the disappointing result. "With under five seconds to go and you let (Malcolm) go the length of the court, I thought we took the charge and it wasn't called, but we've got to stop the ball."
He continued, "We didn't get the result, and it hurts that we couldn't get another big win. Our guys are resilient and they've got good character and I think we'll rebound and have a chance to fight again on Wednesday."
Saint Leo (8-7, 2-3 SSC) was in prime position for another thrilling conference victory in front of a rowdy Bowman Center crowd as the Lions lined up for a free throw with the score knotted at 46 and with just 43 seconds left. The chance would bounce out and neither team would score again during regulation as a near déjà vu moment, with the Lions' Dominick Robinson squaring up a three pointer as time expired, rattled around the rim and bounced out.
The visitors from Winter Park, Fla. spun the scoreboard first in overtime, but it was the Lions who gained control behind a Robinson trey with 3:35 left and didn't surrender the advantage until Malcolm's shot passed through the iron.
The overtime session capped a 45-minute defensive stalemate that saw both teams shoot under 40 percent and combine for 35 turnovers.
Despite fouling out in the waning moments of regulation, Marcus Ruh led the Lions in scoring with 17 points as he connected on five 3-pointers. He would be the only Saint Leo player in double-digits as he also led in rebounding with seven boards in 38 minutes.
Malcolm finished tied for the game-high in scoring as he and Myk Brown finished with 15 points each.
The Lions will look to put the loss behind them with they travel to St. Petersburg, Fla. and face the Eckerd Tritons on Wednesday afternoon. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the McArthur Center on the EC campus. For the latest news, information, and updates on Lions Basketball and all other Saint Leo Athletics, visit SaintLeoLions.com.