SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo University men’s basketball team (15-15, 7-9 SSC) locked up the No. 7 seed in this year’s Sunshine State Conference Tournament presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The Green and Gold will take on the No. 2 seeded Rollins College Tars in Winter Park, Fla. this Wednesday, March 3.
The Lions lost a tiebreaker with Lynn University which gave the Lions the seven seed, while the Fighting Knights took the six seed. Both teams finished with the same 7-9 conference record, but because Lynn had a better mark against higher position opponents, they were given the nod over SLU.
As for the game, the Lions took on the Tars twice this season and came up short in both contests. In the first meeting this season at the Bowman Center, Quentin Cullop and Kyle Rowland combined to score 39 points in the losing effort. Though the Tars opened a large lead in the second half, the Lions stormed back in the late stages of the game to cut the lead to three. The Lions couldn’t cut it any closer though as Rollins converted their free throws down the stretch. The loss marked one of only three home losses this season.
Cullop went off for his second 20-point effort against the Tars in the second go-around in Winter Park and was joined by Matt Salay as he pumped in 20 points as well, but the scoring duo wasn’t enough, as the Tars caught fire from behind the three point line and soon turned the Lions two point halftime lead into a Tars advantage. Rollins held the lead for the remainder of the half and iced the eight point victory by hitting all of their free throws.
In other men’s quarterfinal action, regular-season champion Florida Southern (24-6, 13-3 SSC) earned the top seed and will host No. 8 Florida Tech (13-14, 5-11). No. 3 Nova Southeastern (15-10, 9-7) plays host to No. 6 Lynn (16-11, 7-9). No. 4 Barry (13-14, 8-8) will welcome No. 5 Tampa (15-11, 8-8) in the other quarterfinal showdown.
Tampa and Barry both posted 8-8 conference marks and split their regular-season games. Looking at the teams’ records against opponents occupying the highest position in the standings, Barry ultimately gained the tiebreaker advantage by going 1-1 against Nova Southeastern. Tampa dropped both of its contests to the Sharks.
QUARTERFINALS - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 (Campus Sites)
No. 8 Florida Tech at No. 1 Florida Southern, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Saint Leo at No. 2 Rollins, 7:30 p.m.
No. 6 Lynn at No. 3 Nova Southeastern, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Tampa at No. 4 Barry, 7 p.m.