Lions complete comeback with 57-54 OT win at Rollins

Lions complete comeback with 57-54 OT win at Rollins

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Saint Leo seniors Cale Girten and Ron Foxx each converted a pair of free throws down the stretch in overtime to lift the Lions to a 57-54 Sunshine State Conference men's basketball win over Rollins College, Saturday night at Warden Arena.

The effort capped a thrilling comeback for the Lions (10-5, 2-2 Sunshine State Conference), who trailed by as many as six points, 47-41, with under four minutes remaining in regulation.

Rollins (7-7, 0-3 Sunshine State Conference) led 54-53 with 2:17 showing on the OT clock after a three-pointer by the Tars' Chris Uhle. Foxx collected the rebound on senior Devin Crisosto's missed three-point attempt, and went to the line for three shots after getting fouled on a three-point effort of his own.

Foxx drained the final two shots of his three shots, giving the Lions a 55-54 lead with 1:25 remaining.

Saint Leo got the defensive stop on the ensuing Rollins possession, forcing the Tars to turn over the ball on a shot-clock violation with 49 seconds left. Girten was fouled at the other end of the floor, and connected on two shots free throws to extend the Lions' lead to 57-54 with 14 ticks on the clock.

The Lions' defensive pressure again produced a turnover, as the Tars' Alex Blessig threw the ball away. Foxx chased down the loose ball for the steal, preserving the Saint Leo road conference victory.

Saint Leo forced overtime after a six-point run following the under-four minute media timeout, with a pair of layups by junior Edmunds Dukulis and a Crisosto layup to knot the game at 47-47 with 1:49 remaining in regulation.

Foxx, who was playing with four fouls, twice drained jumpers from the right wing to give the Lions the lead, but the Tars responded each time to tie things up.

The Lions' late run squashed the Tars' effort to wrap up the win in the waning minutes, after Rollins broke a 40-40 tie at the 7:05 mark with a 7-1 run of its own.

A final game-winning attempt from Foxx off the right wing with just two seconds remaining was off the mark, and Crisosto's put-back layup was ruled to have occurred after the horn – forcing the overtime session.

The two teams combined for 10 lead changes and eight ties in the second half alone.

"I'm really proud how we battled back inside of that last media timeout. It looked like they were pulling away with some momentum, and we had three or four great possessions in a row where Ron Foxx – who sat most of the game in foul trouble – had a couple of big jumpers," said Lance Randall, Saint Leo head men's basketball coach.

"Then in overtime we got stops, and Cale (Girten) hit a couple of big free throws."

Saint Leo managed to come out on top of a first half defensive struggle with the Tars, thanks to a 7-2 run to close out the frame. An Adam Pohlman three-pointer with 3:31 remaining in the half pulled the Lions to within one, 17-16, and sophomore Marcus Dewberry gave the Lions an 18-17 lead with a layup just seconds later.

However, points were difficult to come by for both squads in the opening half, punctuated by a nearly five-minute stretch during the middle of the first half in which neither team had a field goal. Saint Leo shot 37.5 percent from the floor in the opening frame, which was markedly better than Rollins' 29.2 percent effort from the field.

Both teams ramped up their shooting significantly in the second stanza, with the Lions going 11-of-22 from the field to finish at 41.9 percent for the night.

Dukulis finished the game with 16 points for the Lions, while Girten tallied 11 points. Foxx and Dewberry each had eight points, while Crisosto added five points with four assists.

Saint Leo is back on the court on Wednesday, Jan. 14, when it faces the University of Tampa. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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