TAMPA, Fla. – Another fast start was stifled and the Saint Leo men’s basketball team would see an upset opportunity slip through their grasp after a 78-66 loss to the University of Tampa in Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday night from Tampa’s Bob Martinez Sports Center.
Similar to the hot start the Lions had last Saturday against Nova Southeastern, SLU jumped out to a 5-0 lead and had a chance to push it to 7-0 but a missed layup gave the ball back to Tampa. It would take 65 seconds for the Spartans to turn the advantage over to their side of the scoreboard, taking a lead they would not relinquish despite a valiant effort by Saint Leo (9-5, 1-4 SSC).
A sluggish first half where the Lions shot just 32 percent from the floor saw Tampa slowly open up a double-digit advantage as they took a 40-27 lead into the halftime intermission.
Slow to start the second half, Tampa (15-0, 5-0 SSC) would see their lead whittled down to just five points as the Lions suddenly had the hot hand and began to connect on shots from all around the floor.
An untimely technical foul on the Lions seemed to take momentum away from the Green and Gold as UT would score the next six points and open a large advantage up once again. The lead would drop to six points with 9:20 left, but another clutch 3-pointer from the Spartans shut down any SLU comeback and the Lions would watch Tampa wrap up the win.
Only one Saint Leo player would finish in double figures as Dominick Robinson scored 11 points. In all, 12 Lions would tally at least one point in the loss.
Tampa managed to stay undefeated with the win, marking the best start in the school’s history as Anthony Griffis scored 25 points and Rashad Callaway added 22.
Saint Leo is scheduled to return home on Saturday afternoon as they welcome the visiting Rollins Tars to the Bowman Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.