No. 7 Rollins (23-10) vs. No. 1 Alabama-Huntsville (27-6)
Spragins Hall – Huntsville, Ala.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 – 8 p.m. (ET)
For the third time in school history, Rollins men’s basketball will play for the NCAA Division II South Region Championship when the seven-seed Tars meet top-seed Alabama-Huntsville Tuesday night. On the line is a trip to the 2017 Elite Eight in Sioux Fall, South Dakota. Rollins is riding a 10-game winning streak, including two wins in the NCAA postseason. The Tars battled second-seed Valdosta State in the first round and pulled out an 89-85 overtime win. The next day, Rollins put on a three-point shooting clinic and blew out Delta State 88-61, its largest win margin of the season. Alabama-Huntsville won the Gulf South Conference Tournament last week to earn the top seed and hosting duties. They made easy work of eighth-seed Clark-Atlanta in the first round and dispatched fourth-seed Barry 96-82 in the semifinals. UAH is playing in the regional final for the fifth-time in its history and as twice (2011, 2012) advanced to the Elite Eight.
TRACKING THE TARS:
Sam Philpott continues to be the Tars top scorer, putting up 15.1 points a game while also averaging 4.2 rebounds a night. He is shooting 55 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc. The junior scored 22 against Delta State in the semifinals. Jeff Merton also netted 22 points in the semis and is averaging 14.6 points and a team best 5.6 rebounds a game. The Second Team All-SSC member leads the Tars with 70 three-pointers and is second with 42 steals. Senior Joey Galvis fills the season stat sheet, averaging 10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals a game. He ranks 10th in the nation in steals per game and fourth nationally with 80 total steals. Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year Connor Mckim has enjoyed a breakout season, averaging 10.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists a night. Rollins is eighth in the country in three-point shooting, hitting 42-percent beyond the arc after a 17-of-30 performance against Delta State. The Tars are allowing 78.6 points and scoring 81.2 a game.
TRACKING THE CHARGERS:
UAH shoots the three nearly as well as Rollins, ranking ninth nationally at 41.7 percent. The Chargers score 85.5 points a game and are allowing 78.7 a night. Seab Webster leads the offense with 18.8 points a game while also hauling in 8.1 rebounds a night. Brandon Roberts is getting 16.2 points a night after scoring 26 against Clark-Atlanta and 30 against Barry. Troy Sexton averages 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.9 assist a game. Webster and Roberts were both named All-Gulf South Conference.
Rollins is playing in the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament Championship for the third time in school history; winning in 2004 and finishing runner-up in 2010.
Rollins is 4-0 all-time against Alabama-Huntsville. They last met in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division II South Region Tournament with the Tars winning 59-57 in overtime.
Rollins won the only other meeting with Delta State, 82-70 in the 2010 GSC/SSC Crossover.
Rollins is 13-15 all-time in NCAA Division II South Region history and 4-1 as the No. 7 seed.
Rollins and UAH share six common opponents this season:
Clark Atlanta: RC 1-0/UAH 1-0
Tampa: RC 1-1/UAH 1-0
Saint Leo: RC 2-0/UAH 1-1
Barry: RC 1-1/UAH 1-0
Delta State: RC 1-0/UAH 2-1
Valdosta State: RC 1-0/UAH 2-1
Rollins men’s and women’s basketball teams are both playing for the South Region title.
Tom Klusman is 676-392 in 37 years as the Tars head coach.
NEXT UP FOR ROLLINS:
The 2017 NCAA Division II South Region Championship is slated for March 22-25 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota