The Saint Leo men's basketball team has been plagued by last-second defeats in a deflating week of Sunshine State Conference play.
The Lions (8-8, 2-4 SSC) took conference leader Rollins to the brink, but fell 56-53 in overtime last Saturday. Then on Wednesday, the Lions lost 56-55 to Eckerd. The two losses have dropped them into eighth place in the conference standings as they prepare for today's 4 p.m. game at Nova Southeastern (8-7, 3-3).
The Rollins loss was especially tough because Saint Leo had opportunities to put it away in regulation. Dominick Robinson made one of two free throws late to tie the game at 46, but neither team would score for the ensuing 42 seconds, which forced overtime.
Rollins missed two shots on the ensuing possession, and Roberson missed a 3-pointer in the waning seconds. Then, in overtime, Rollins' Ian Scott drove the length of the floor and made a lay-up with five seconds left to give the Tars a one-point lead, and Saint Leo's ensuing inbounds pass was intercepted by Rollins to seal the game.
Marcus Ruh had 17 points against the Tars, including five 3-pointers.
Against Eckerd, Trent Thomas gave SLU its last lead with a 3-pointer that made it 54-53 with 1:25 to go. The Tritons responded on the next possession with a lay-up and never trailed after that.
The Lions made only 6-for-12 free throws compared to 16-for-18 by Eckerd, the difference in the game.
Saint Leo will be home Wednesday against Barry, which will be the halfway point of the conference schedule.
Women's streak continues
The women's basketball team has now lost 10 in a row after falling 60-41 to Rollins last Saturday and 79-56 to Eckerd on Wednesday. They are in danger of being left out of the eight-team SSC Tournament, with losses to the two teams immediately ahead of them in the standings.
The Lions have not won since Dec. 3, when they were 6-0 and appeared primed for a breakout season.
Their upcoming schedule mirrors the men, with a road test today at 2 against Nova Southeastern before returning home to face Barry on Wednesday.
Softball picked fifth, baseball eighth
The softball team was picked to finish fifth in the SSC this week in a vote of the conference's Sports Information Directors and coaches.
The Lions went 25-29 overall and 9-15 in league play last season. Rollins was the unanimous pick to repeat as league champion, coming off a 45-4 campaign.
The baseball team was selected to finish eighth, with Tampa getting the nod as preseason favorite to win the conference.
Both teams begin their seasons on Feb. 3.