The Saint Leo Lions outscored the Florida Tech Panthers 43-23 in the second half on Wednesday, en route to a 71-57 Sunshine State Conference win.
This game was so close statistically, with the Panthers shooting 18-of-48 from the field (37.5 percent) and the Lions going 19-of-47 (40.4 percent), and both teams were 7-for-18 (39 percent) from behind the three-point line.
The difference in this one was from the free-throw line, with Saint Leo going 26-for-30 from the charity stripe, good for 86.7 percent. The Panthers were 14-for-25, a 56 percent clip.
Derek Murphy led the Panthers with 18 points, while R.J. Coil put up 16, and Trey Schaneville rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Panthers, with 11.
Kyran McClure got the Lions going with a three-pointer. Schaneville answered with one of his own 2:05 into the game. He would do it again with 16:52 to go, giving the Panthers a 6-3 lead. Schaneville would score all of his points in the first half.
Coil’s layup with 11:39 to go would give the Panthers a 16-13 lead and a three by Murphy would extend the lead to six. With 8:35 to go, the Lions got as close as 21-19, and the half was close until Florida Tech got another three from Schaneville with 3:37 to go, giving the Panthers a 30-24 lead. Coil would make the score 34-28 with 45 seconds to go and the Panthers would take that lead to the locker room.
Murphy had a three-point play to start the half, making it 37-28 and a Coil hoop gave the Panthers an 11 point lead. That’s when things started to go south for the Panthers, as Saint Leo ran off eight straight points, cutting the lead to three. Florida Tech’s scoring drought lasted over five minutes during that stretch.
McClure would draw a foul on a three-point shot with 12:21 to go and hit all three. He would then hit a traditional three-pointer, giving the Lions a 42-40 lead. That run would spark a huge second half for McClure and a 14-1 run for the home team.
Murphy would hit a three with 8:43 to go, making it a 46-45 Saint Leo lead. McClure would answer with another bomb and that would be equaled by Antonis Pefanis, only for McClure to hit another on the other end, expanding the Lions lead to 52-48.
Saint Leo (6-9, 3-4 SSC) would do much of the remaining damage from the free-throw line, finishing the game on a 19-9 run.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Saint Leo Box Score
The Panthers (7-7, 1-5 SSC) will look to get back in the win column Saturday at Lynn. The tip is set for approximately 4:00 p.m., following the women’s contest.