The Saint Leo men's basketball team's hot start to the 2010-11 season lasted until halftime of their Sunshine State Conference opener against Florida Tech last weekend.
After taking a 44-38 halftime lead on the Panthers in Melbourne, the Lions (6-2, 0-1 SSC) scored only 29 points in the second half, and lost 80-73.
Saint Leo shot 57 percent (17 of 30) in the first half, but only 33 percent (10 of 30) after the break. Walter Perkins had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Jeremy Jackson had 12 points and six rebounds for the Lions, while Florida Tech's Justin Sedlak had 29 points.
Saint Leo began a four-game home stand that started Friday against Trinity College. Next Friday it plays Palm Beach Atlantic, before taking an extended Christmas break and resuming SSC play on Jan. 2 against Lynn and Jan. 5 against Florida Southern.
The Panthers also defeated Saint Leo in women's basketball, 59-53, as the Lions' shooting continued to be a problem.
Saint Leo, which is last in the nine-team conference in both scoring (57.6 points per game) and shooting percentage (36.8 percent), shot just 28.3 percent in the defeat, including only 26.5 percent on 2-point shots.
After trailing by double-digits most of the half, Saint Leo came within 4 of the lead with 16 seconds left, but got no closer. Chelsea Williams (12 points, eight rebounds) and Brittany Carannante (11 points, five rebounds) paced the Lions' attack.
The women's team is headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico next week to play road games against the primary Division II schools from the island. They play UPR-Rio Piedras on Tuesday, UPR-Bayamon on Wednesday and UPR-Bayamon on Friday.
Tuesday's game is a rematch of a 55-54 defeat the Lions suffered at the Bowman Center on Nov. 24. They beat Bayamon by 23 on Nov. 22.
Cutler, Soesemann honored
Men's soccer player Bruce Cutler and women's soccer star Pia Soesemann were named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-South Region first team this week. Jonathan Glenn made the men's second team.
Cutler, a native Scotsman and midfielder, had six goals and six assists as a senior. Soesemann, who earlier was named SSC player of the year, was second in the conference with 19 goals and 42 points. She was third nationally with 1.188 goals per game.
Odds and ends
Lacrosse player Mike Del Buono was named to Face-Off Yearbook preseason Division II All-American second team this week. The lacrosse season begins on Feb. 19. ... Saint Leo Hall of Fame inductee Joseph H. Parker passed away last Friday, aged 81. Parker was football, baseball, basketball and track star in Saint Leo's prep school during the 1940s.