ST. PETERSBURG - When Steve Berg's 3-point shot at the buzzer bounded off the back rim to preserve Florida Southern's 68-66 win over Eckerd College on Wednesday night, Tritons coach Tom Ryan had little reaction. Ryan knew that his team never should have been in a do-or-die situation to begin with.
"That shot didn't lose the game," Ryan said. "We lost the game at the start of the second half. We played defense in the first half and built a lead and then decided not to play defense in the second half. That's going to get you beat in this league every time."
Eckerd dropped to 15-9, 7-5 in the Sunshine State Conference. With only two conference games remaining before the conference tournament, the Tritons are tied for third with Lynn and Barry. Florida Southern (17-6, 9-2) solidified at least second place.
Things went smoothly for the Tritons in the first. They built a 10-point lead late in the half when Anthony Washington hit a 3-point shot. Washington scored 20 of his team-high 26 in the first.
Eckerd led 47-38 at halftime, but in the second half Florida Southern scored the first six and began chipping away. Then came a 12-0 Moccasins run midway through the half to give them a 59-55 lead.
When Washington hit 1 of 2 free throws with 26 seconds left, it was tied at 66. With five seconds left, Hurley Dunbar's layup proved to be the winner.
"We decided, for some reason, to defend (Dunbar) high on the pick which left him wide open down the lane for a layup," Ryan said. "We didn't do that in the first half, and we teach them not to do that, so I guess that's coaching."
ROLLINS 88, SAINT LEO 68: Lex Brown scored 23 and Eric Faber 20 for the visiting Tars. Rollins' winning streak is eight.
TAMPA 72, FLORIDA TECH 55: Mark Borders had 20 points and 10 assists for the host Spartans.
SAVANNAH ST. 57, B-CC 56: Josh Barker hit a layup with three seconds left for the host Tigers.