PREVIEW: Rollins Travels to Tampa for Pivotal SSC Match-up

PREVIEW: Rollins Travels to Tampa for Pivotal SSC Match-up

Complete Game Notes (.pdf)Match-up:
Rollins (8-6, 2-4 SSC) at Tampa (8-5, 2-3 SSC)

When:
Wednesday, January 9, 2018 | 7:30 p.m.

Where:
Tampa, Florida | Bob Martinez Center

Coverage:
WATCH: Tars Sports Network – RollinsSportsLive.com
LISTEN: WPRK 91.5 FM – TuneIn (mobile)
LIVESTATS: TarsStats.com

Set-up:Looking to snap out of a two-game skid and losses in four of their last five, Rollins next travels to Tampa to meet the Spartans Wednesday night. The Tars are 8-6 on the year and mired in the middle of the Sunshine State Conference standings. Rollins defense remains stout, holding the SSC's top two offenses to more than 15 points under their averages last week. However, the offense has sputtered in the new year, scoring 62.5 points a night since the calendar flipped. Tampa had its four-game winning streak stopped on Wednesday night, getting upset by Palm Beach Atlantic. The Spartans were averaging better than 94 points a game during its winning streak before falling to PBA.

Tracking the Tars: Rollins is coming off a 71-60 loss to Barry on Wednesday, a second-straight home SSC defeat. The Tars hung with the Bucs most of the way before a late run put Barry on top 71-60. Jakobi Bonner led Rollins with 21 points and five rebounds. Hutton Yenor netted 18 off the bench to go along with six rebounds while Eric Castaneda hauled in a game-high 10 boards. Bonner tops the Tars offense on the year with 15.6 points and 4.3 rebounds a game. The junior is shooting 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from long range. Connor Mckim has heated up lately and is averaging 13 points and 2.6 assists a night. Hutton Yenor has come off the bench in every game and is putting up 11 points a night while leading the Tars in shooting, hitting 57 percent from the field. Rollins is seventh in the SSC in offense with 76.9 points a game and fifth in scoring defense, allowing 73.6 a night. Rollins is second in the conference in turnovers forced per game, forcing 19.2 opponent miscues a game.

Tracking the Spartans: Tampa had been riding high heading into 2019, but saw its four-game winning streak stopped by Palm Beach Atlantic, the Sailfish's first SSC win of the season. Cedric Belemene led the way with 17 points and 16 rebounds off the bench, playing 32 minutes. Anthony Gamble added 13 points and six rebounds while Freddy Ibrahim netted 12. Gamble is the season leader for the Spartans, putting gup 16.9 points and 4.2 rebounds a game. Mekhi Biffle is getting 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds a night and Alberto Moreno scores 12.4 a game. UT is ninth in the SSC in scoring with 75.7 points a game, while allowing a SSC-third best 70.4 points a night.

Notes:

  • Tampa leads the all-time series 70-47 over Rollins with their first match-up coming in 1953. Rollins has won four of the last six in the series.
  • Rollins split games last season with each winning on its own home court. The Tars won 71-69 in Winter Park and UT won 87-82 in Tampa.
  • Rollins is 33-18 all-time at the Martinez Center.
  • Rollins is sixth in the nation in steals per game (10.9) and third nationally in total steals (153).
  • Rollins ranks ninth in the nation in turnovers forced with 19.21 a game.
  • Connor Mckim (RC) is 32nd in the nation with 29 steals.
  • Cedric Belemene (UT) is second in the SSC and 34th nationally with 9.4 rebounds per game.  
  • Rollins head coach Tom Klusman is 701-413 in his 38th year leading the program. He has the fourth most wins among active NCAA Division II coaches; Richard Schmidt is 703-386 in 38 seasons leading the Spartans.  

Next up: The Tars are back on Florida's west coach Saturday, visiting Eckerd at the McArthur Center. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. in St. Petersburg. Fans can listen to the action live on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.