WINTER PARK, Fla. (December 4, 2017) – Rollins had its best shooting night of the season and picked up a 94-91 bounce back victory over Southeastern University on Monday.
Sam Philpott led the way for the Tars (6-3) with 22 points and six rebounds. The senior was 9-of-12 from the field and hit 4-of-5 at the free throw line. Jeff Merton added 20 points, six rebounds and five assists while Connor McKim tallied 18 points and five assists. Deion Clark gave for Tars four scorers in double figures with 16.
The Fire (8-2) came into the game ranked No. 11 in the NAIA Coaches Poll and with one of their division's top offenses. Ryan Atkins poured in 34 points to lead SEU while Ismael Clestin added 12 off the bench. Jeremy Oppenheimer and Cj Reese both netted 11.
Rollins out rebounded its opponent for just the second time this season, earning a 31-17 advantage on the glass. The Tars also shot a season-best 64 percent (34-53) from the field and hit 21-of-27 at the free throw line. Southeastern went 33-of-56 (59 percent) from the floor, including 12-of-25 from long range.
The Fire controlled action to start and put the Tars down five on three different occasions over the first eight minutes. Rollins then used an 11-2 run to turn a five-point deficit into a 28-23 lead with 8:11 left in the half.
SEU came back to tie the score at 34 with 3:23 on the clock, but the Tars pulled away in the final minutes and used an Eric Castaneda triple at the buzzer to take a 47-40 lead into the break.
Rollins advantage ballooned to 55-42 early in the second before a cold streak allowed the Fire to come back and tie the score at 61 with 11:29 to play. The game was tied three more times over the next five minutes until two buckets each by Philpott and Mckim on four straight possessions put the Tars up 84-76 at the 3:32 mark.
The Fire then got hot from deep and pulled to within 88-86 with 1:18 remaining. Castaneda extended the lead with a pair at the stripe, but it was quickly answered with a Reese driving layup. Clark scored next for the Tars, but Atkins raced down the floor and hit a long three-pointer to cut the Rollins lead to 92-91 with 28 ticks left.
After a foul, Merton made good on a pair at the free throw line and an SEU three-pointer was off the mark; the Tars then secured the rebound and played keep away as the clock ran out.
Rollins gets right back to it on Tuesday, December 5 hosting Warner at 7 p.m. in Warden Arena. Fans can follow the action live on the Tars Sports Network and SSC Digital Network at RollinsSports.com.