|Points||Merton - 20||2 tied with 18|
|Rebounds||Castaneda - 8||Roberts - 8|
|Assists||Mckim - 4||Saxton - 5|
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (March 14, 2017) – The Rollins men’s basketball team shocked top-seed Alabama-Huntsville 72-68 to win the NCAA Division II South Region Championship for the second time in school history.
Rollins will next play in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight March 22-25 in Sioux Fall, South Dakota. The Tars were 8-8 in mid-January and have now won 11-straight in their history-making run.
Seven-seed Rollins beat second-seed Valdosta State, third-seed Delta State and the top-seed Chargers to capture the title.
Jeff Merton was the Tournament MVP and led the Tars (24-10) with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. Sam Philpott was also on the All-Tournament team and scored 14 points. Connor Mckim added nine points and four assists.
UAH (26-8) had 18-points each from Brian Roberts and Seab Webster. Roberts also grabbed eight rebounds and kept the Chargers in the game late with key buckets.
Rollins kept the sellout crowd at Spragins Hall quiet for most of the first half as a 9-0 run midway through the period gave the Tars a 20-10 lead. Rollins led 33-24 at the 3:52 mark before UAH rolled off a 16-4 run to close the half and put the Tars down 40-36 at halftime.
Rollins came out of the locker room and scored the first five points of the second half and retook the lead. The teams went back and forth until the Tars went on a big run and again went up by 10, 66-56.
UAH then made an 8-0 run and closed to 66-65 with just 1:02 to play. Merton hit a driving layup to give the Tars some breathing room and was followed by a big defensive stop. Eric Castaneda hit the front end of a one-and-one but got his own rebound after missing the second and again drew the foul. He then sank the next two at the line to ice the game for the Tars.
Rollins shot 13-of-25 from the field and 10-of-25 from three-point range. The high-powered UAH offense was held to just 19-of-51 from the field and shot 12-of-39 from long range. The Tars outrebounded UAH 35-34.
Rollins last advanced to the Elite Eight in 2004. Match-ups for the 2017 Elite Eight will be announced Wednesday, March 15 after the conclusion of the East Regional.