KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The 16th-ranked Saint Leo men's basketball team's run to a Sunshine State Conference Tournament Championship came to an unexpected end in the semifinal round as the Lions fell to Rollins College 62-53 on Saturday evening from the Silver Spurs Arena.
The Lions (21-7) did not have a hot shooting touch throughout the game, going just 33 percent from the floor while Rollins drained 41 percent of their attempts. In a back-and-forth defensive battle, the deciding factor in the game came at the free throw line where the Tars (19-9) added 22 points on 22-of-26 shooting, while Saint Leo was only able to garner nine visits to the charity stripe and make seven shots.
Saint Leo managed to hit 10 three-point attempts while Rollins only connected on six tries, but the Lions' performance from behind the big arc was negated by the number of visits to the free throw line.
Also a factor was the Lions' play in the paint, where Rollins outscored the Green and Gold 20-8 while Saint Leo managed to better the Tars in all the other additional stat categories including bench points, second-chance opportunities and points off turnovers.
Trent Thomas was the Lions' highlight performer with a game-high 21 points, connecting on six triples and going 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Jerrel Harris also added 11 points in 27 minutes of action.
Rollins saw four players in double figures led by Mitch Woods' 16 points. Chris Uhle dropped in 13 points and Kyle McClanahan added 12. Dave Diakite also reached double-digits with 11 points.
The Tars advance to the SSC Championship game on Sunday where they will face either Eckerd or Florida Southern. Saint Leo will return home and prepare for a potential NCAA Tournament bid. The Lions will find out their postseason destiny on Sunday night during the NCAA Selection Show at 10:30 p.m. hosted at Applebee's in Wesley Chapel.