MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's basketball team could not reproduce the same magic it had on Wednesday as the Lions fell to Florida Tech 78-69 in Sunshine State Conference action Saturday afternoon from FIT's Clemente Center.
It was a game where the Lions nearly outshot their hosts through the entire 40 minute contest, but the inconsistency and a scoring drought to start the second half hurt the Green and Gold's chances. Despite 31 points from junior Trent Thomas, many coming in the form of layups, the Lions could not stop the Panthers' (10-2, 3-1 SSC) perimeter attack of Julius Reid, Simon Cummings and Anthony Jackson and that of post player Derek Hellemann. The foursome combined for 66 of Florida Tech's points and sealed the win for the Panthers.
"We did a really good job in the first half running our half-court offense but we had some empty possessions and 10 turnovers," Head Coach Lance Randall said. "The second half became more of a scramble and we struggled with the ball. We turned it over and didn't get the stops we needed when (Florida Tech's) pressure sped us up. (The Panthers) have the best six offensive players in the league, but in the end we've just got to be better with the ball."
Thomas led the way for the Lions (7-6, 1-2 SSC) with his season-high 31 point night as he was 12-of-21 shooting and added four assists. He was one of just two Saint Leo players in double figures with Shaun Adams adding 15 points in the losing effort.
The Lions shot nearly 49 percent (23-of-47) from the field, just two-tenths of a percent behind FIT (27-of-55, 49.1%). Saint Leo connected on six 3-pointers (6-for-14) and continued to improve their free throw numbers as they made 17-of-21 attempts.
Saint Leo will have to tough task ahead as they look to get back on track when they return home and welcome Florida Southern into the Bowman Center on Wednesday evening. Tip-off between the Lions and Moccasins is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. For the latest news, information, and updates on Lions Basketball and all other Saint Leo Athletics, visit SaintLeoLions.com.