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Rollins Sneaks Past Florida Memorial by Two

Jeff Merton scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds vs. Fla. Memorial Wednesday
Jeff Merton scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds vs. Fla. Memorial Wednesday

WINTER PARK, Fla. (November 22, 2017) – Rollins needed a late push in the final minute to pick up its fourth-straight win, a 66-64 triumph over Florida Memorial on Wednesday afternoon.

Sam Philpott scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead the way for the Tars (4-2). Jeff Merton and Eric Castaneda both netted 12 with Merton also hauling in seven rebounds and Castaneda give out a career-high seven assists. Deion Clark added 11 points on a perfect 4-4 (1-1 3FG, 2-2 FT) day from the floor.

Travis Mitchell led Florida Memorial (3-3) with 16 points and eight rebounds. Evens Jacques scored 11 and Davon Williams chipped in nine points.

Facing a short turnaround after having beaten Puerto Rico Bayamon in a shootout the night before, Rollins struggled to get the offense rolling, but its stout defense keep it close early. Merton hit from deep midway through the first to give the Tars a 20-18 lead, its first of the game.

The Tars were up six before the Lions went on a run and closed the gap to 26-25 with 6:28 in the period. Three-pointers from Connor Mckim and Merton in the closing minutes of the half gave the Tars a 35-27 lead at intermission.

Florida Memorial would not go away quietly and came back to take the lead at 43-42 with 13:01 to play. The lead would then change hands seven more times over the next four minutes with back-to-back buckets from Castaneda putting the Tars up 56-52 at the 8:15 mark.

Rollins could not pull away and FMU used a 7-0 run to take a 62-60 advantage with two minutes left. Philpott knotted the score at 62 with 1:01 and Merton gave the Tars a two-point lead on a tip-in 24 seconds later. After a key stop, Castaneda scored two at the free throw line.

FMU got a bucket late and the Tars missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to give the Lions possession with four seconds left. Jacques had a look at a three-pointer but it was off the mark and the Tars held on for the win.

Rollins shot 41 percent for the game (24-59), but just 9-of-33 from long range. FMU was 45 percent, shooting 26-58 but also struggled beyond the arc, hitting just 6-of-23. The Tars were beat on the glass 40-31 and forced 12 turnovers while committing just eight.

The Tars are off for the Thanksgiving holiday and will be back in Sunshine State Conference play on Wednesday, November 29 hosting Embry-Riddle at 7:30. Fans can catch the action live on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.

 NOTES:

  • Tom Klusman is 681-395 in 38 years as the Tars head coach; he is one of just 16 NCAA Division II coaches with 600 or more wins.
  • The Tars are3-0 all-time with Florida Memorial.
  • Sam Philpott was named the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 20, the first time in his career he received the award.
  • Eric Castaneda's career-high seven assists betters his career-high of four, set eight previous times.