WINTER PARK, Fla. – The final act of the 2008-09 Saint Leo men’s basketball season played itself out at Rollins College’s Warden Arena on Wednesday evening. The No. 7 seed Lions fell to the host No. 2 seed Tars 71-47 as the Lions were forced to wrap up their season in the quarterfinal round of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Sunshine State Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Lions end their campaign at 15-16 while Rollins improves to 19-9 on the season and will play Nova Southeastern in the semifinals on Saturday evening.
Rollins was on fire all night, shooting 59 percent (24-of-41) from the field while holding the Lions to just 36 percent (16-of-45) from the floor. The Tars also earned a 27-22 advantage on the glass.
The hosts ran out to a 17-7 lead over the first five minutes but when the Lions chipped into the lead, the Tars again pushed the advantage to 10 with eight minutes to play in the half.
Back-to-back treys by Quentin Cullop later in the frame got the Lions to within three, 27-24 with just three minutes in the stanza, but Rollins ended the half on a 7-0 run.
The Lions, down by just three a few minutes ago, headed to the lockers with a 34-24 deficit and all of the momentum with the hosts.
SLU came out of the halftime break completely cold as the Tars lead ballooned to 19 after the first six minutes of the second half, making the score 46-27. Rollins would lead by as much as 25 late in the game as they moved into the tournament semifinals and the Lions closed out their year.
For the hosts, Nick Wolf netted a game-high 22 points and gathered seven rebounds to lead four Tars in double figures. Kevin Hogan added 18 points with Craig Reichel and Matt Robertson each chipping in 10.
In the loss the junior Cullop paced the Lions with 15 points while Jordan Prais added 13. Senior Kyle Rowland, playing in his final game in the Green & Gold finished with seven points as Head Coach Mike Madagan substituted him out with 30 seconds left to a standing ovation from the Lion faithful.
The Lions end a season that saw them travel to Alaska, nearly post a .500 record in the Sunshine State Conference, honor a 1,000-point scorer, and see a senior become the all-time blocks leader at Saint Leo.