After several surprising wins in the Sunshine State Conference the past three weeks, Eckerd College suffered a stunning loss to Saint Leo Saturday night.
The Tritons sat atop the SSC while the Monarchs were at the bottom going into the game. Eckerd (15-5, 6-2) had beaten Rollins and Florida Southern on the road and Tampa, Saint Leo, Barry and Florida International at home. The Monarchs (3-14, 0-7) were seeking their first conference win.
But Saint Leo surprised Eckerd 93-92, dropping the Tritons into a first-place tie with Rollins with four games left.
"There aren't any words for that loss," Eckerd assistant coach Tom Ryan said. "Saint Leo played a great game and their shots were dropping. We just have to focus on the next game now."
Eckerd is host to Rollins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The winner takes sole possession of first place.
"I think our guys started getting ahead of themselves," Ryan said, "something they weren't doing in the beginning of the season. We just need to prepare for every game as it comes."
The Tritons travel to Tampa on Saturday for a 3 p.m. game marking the Spartans' homecoming.
Busy day: While Eckerd takes on Tampa, the Tritons' baseball team (4-0) will be hosting the University of Michigan in a game beginning at 1 p.m. The Wolverines are coached by Bill Freehan, a former St. Petersburg resident and Detroit Tiger who frequently brings his team down to play Eckerd.
Up for grabs: Clearwater Christian College plays for the Florida Christian College Conference basketball crown tonight at 7:30 against Southeastern at the CCC campus. Clearwater Christian (19-8, 9-2) won the Orange Belt Christian College tournament two weeks ago with wins over Trinity Baptist 79-76 and Pensacola Christian 83-77.
State-bound: St. Petersburg Junior College defeated Polk Community College to clinch a spot in the state women's basketball tournament on March 2-4 in Ocala at Central Florida Community College. The Trojans (15-9, 5-3) placed second in the Sun Belt Conference behind Brevard Community, but the top two teams receive a bid to the state tourney. It is the second time SPJC has earned a bid. SPJC's Vicky Green was named to the all-conference first-team for a second time.