Saint Leo & Florida Southern Storm to SSC Men's Basketball Final
|SLUís Thomas & FSCís Evans (photos by Jim Hogue)|
A pair of upsets was the story in Saturday’s SSC Men’s Basketball Championship semifinals at the Jenkins Field House in Lakeland. No. 3 Saint Leo downed No. 2 Eckerd 73-67, and No. 5 Florida Southern dispatched No. 1 Florida Tech 108-80.
In the first semifinal, the Lions prevailed in a hard-fought, up-tempo game. Saint Leo’s All-SSC First-Team duo of Trent Thomas and Marcus Ruh carried the club. Thomas, who also garnered SSC Newcomer of the Year accolades, poured in 30 points on 11-of-18 field goal shooting. Ruh chipped in 24 points, going 8-for-15 from the field.
For Eckerd, SSC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year Lance Kearse led the Tritons with 15 points. He was joined in double figures by Walade Wade, who had 12. Alex Bodney and Josh Snodgrass contributed 11 points each.
In the second semifinal, Florida Southern bolted to a 21-2 lead out of the gates and never looked back. The Moccasins led 57-33 at the half, and Tech could get no closer than 16 down the stretch.
All-conference first-teamer Seth Evans led five FSC players in double figures, scoring 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting, including a 7-for-11 performance from three-point range. All-SSC second-teamer Brett Bailey posted a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Mocs. Dominic Lane and Cameron Vines chipped in 16 points apiece, and SSC Freshman of the Year Kevin Capers had 12.
Anthony Jackson led the Panthers with 25 points. Julius Reid recorded 13 points. Simon Cummings (12) and Derek Hellemann (11) also tallied double figures. Reid, Cummings, and Helleman were each all-conference honorees, with Cummings garnering first team and Reid and Hellemann securing second-team distinction.
Saint Leo and Florida Southern will square off for the SSC tournament title at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Jenkins Field House. The matchup will be televised live on Bright House Sports Network, channel 47 and HD channel 1147.