FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (January 11, 2017) – Rollins quickly erased a big halftime deficit and were within one multiple times, but couldn’t get over the hump and fell to Nova Southeastern 63-56 on the road Wednesday.
Freshman point guard Connor Mckim led Rollins with 14 points, eight rebounds and zero turnovers in 30 minutes of action. Jeff Merton added 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. With his first bucket of the game, the junior from Naples became the Tars 39th member of the 1,000 point club.
Harrison Goodrick paced Nova Southeastern with 18 points and eight rebounds. Troy Spears hit 5-of-10 from three-point range and added 17 points while Nikita Orap netted 12.
Rollins evens its record at 8-8 overall and drops to 2-5 in Sunshine State Conference play. NSU improves to 5-10, 2-6 SSC.
HIGHLIGHTS AND HALF-BY-HALF ANALYSIS First Half l After falling behind early, Rollins came back and took a 10-9 lead after an Eric Castaneda three-pointer at the 14:29 mark of the first. The advantage was short lived, however, as the Sharks ripped off a 10-0 run and went ahead 19-10 midway through the half. Rollins got to within 19-5 two minutes later, but another big NSU scoring spurt had the Tars trailing 31-19 with 3:26 on the clock. Mckim hit from deep with 22 ticks left, but Goodrick rattled in a triple at the buzzer to put the Tars in a 34-22 hole at the break.
Second Half l The Tars came charging out of the locker room to start the second and quickly pulled to within three after the first four minutes. After a stop on defense, Nils Lehmann connected and drew a foul to make it a 36-35 game with 15:40 to play. Coming out of the media timeout, he couldn’t hit the tying free throw and the Tars remained behind. Rollins trailed by seven with 11:51 to play but again came back, this time to make it a 44-42 score after a Sam Philpott three-point play. Another defensive stop followed and the Tars were fouled, but Castaneda could only make good on one from line and Rollins continued to trail, 44-43. NSU went up 55-43 with 5:38 left but the Tars twice cut the deficit to five in the final minutes. Rollins trailed 60-56 with 21 seconds left, but the Sharks iced the game at the line.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE • Field Goal Shooting: Rollins 19-51 (37 percent); NSU 22-50 (44 percent) • 3-point Field Goal Shooting: Rollins 11-34 (32 percent); NSU 9-25 (36 percent) • Free-throws: Rollins 7-13 (54 percent); NSU 10-14 (71 percent) • Rebounding: Rollins 28, NSU 38 • Turnovers: Rollins 9, NSU 11 • Rollins led in bench points 16-0; NSU played seven players with the starters each getting 33 minutes or more.
GAME NOTES • Rollins falls to 32-11 all-time against Nova Southeastern and had a three-game winning streak snapped. • Jeff Merton now has 1,013 career points, ranking 37th all-time. He passed Craig Reichel and head coach Tom Klusman on Wednesday. • Connor Mckim set a new career-high with eight rebounds, beating is previous best of three, set four times this year. • The Tars nine turnovers was a season-low. • Rollins 22 first-half points was a season-low. • Tom Klusman is now 661-390 all-time.
NEXT UP FOR THE TARS The Tars are back on the road for their next one, traveling to Saint Leo on Saturday, January 14 for a 7:30 p.m. tip. Fans can follow the action live on the Geico Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com and locally on 91.5 FM WPRK.