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PREVIEW: No. 13/16 Tars Set to Host South Region Crossover

Jack Fleming
Jack Fleming

 

COMPLETE GAME NOTES

MATCH-UPS:
Fri. November 10 – Florida Tech vs. Morehouse – 1 p.m.
Fri. November 10 - Rollins vs. Clark Atlanta – 3 p.m.
Sat. November 11 – Clark Atlanta vs. Florida Tech - Noon
Sat. November 11 – Rollins vs. Morehouse – 2 p.m. 

WHERE:
Warden Arena – Winter Park, Fla.

COVERAGE:
LIVE BROADCAST: Tars Sports Network
Rollins Games; Play-by-Play: Robert Segal; Color: Jim Ferro
Other games; Play-by-Play: Casey Wright
LIVE STATS: TarsStats.com 

SET-UP:
The Rollins men's basketball team welcomes Clark Atlanta and Morehouse to Winter Park for the annual South Region Crossover to open the 2017-18 season. The Tars enter the new year ranked 13th nationally by the coaches, 16th by the media and 10th by Basketball Times, putting expectations for the year very high. CAU and Morehouse are both formidable foes from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and are big early-season South Region games for the Tars. Clark Atlanta won the SIAC Tournament and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament last season while Morehouse is predicted to finish fourth in the SIAC East this season. Florida Tech fills out the other side of the classic and will be playing a mirror schedule for the Tars. The Crossover is both Rollins and FIT's lone tune-up before starting Sunshine State Conference play against each other on Wednesday, Nov. 15 in Winter Park.

TRACKING THE TARS:
Two seniors graduated from the Elite Eight squad from a year ago in big man Mike Bedulskis and defensive specialist Joey Galvis, but 11 letter winners and the bulk of the Tars offense return for 17-18. All-SSC honoree and the MVP of both the SSC and NCAA South Region Tournament Jeff Merton is primed for a stellar senior season on both ends of the court. The Naples native averaged 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds as a junior. Fifth-year senior Sam Philpott led Rollins in scoring last season (15.3 ppg) and is just 20 points away from 1,000 for his career. Sophomore point guard Connor Mckim is back to run the show for head coach Tom Klusman after earning conference Freshman of the Year honors last season. Senior Deion Clark played just five games last season due to injury and is back for Rollins, giving another perimeter threat going into this year. Rollins strength promises to be its suffocating zone defense and this year it's depth on the bench.

TRACKING THE CAU PANTHERS:
Clark Atlanta caught fire at the end of last season and won the SIAC Tournament, earning a bid into the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament. The Panthers were turned back by top-seed Alabama-Huntsville in the first round, but gave the Chargers all they could handle. CAU was picked No. 3 in the East Division of the 17-18 SIAC preseason poll. Senior center Damien Davis and senior guard Anthony Williams were both game to the SIAC All-Preseason team. Gone is last season's leading scorer Tim Sanders, but both Davis (11.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Williams (9.9 ppg, 3.5 apg) will be looked upon to shoulder the load.

TRACKING THE MAROON TIGERS:
Morehouse was picked to finish fourth in the SIAC East this season and is coming off a 18-10 record last season. Senior guard Tyrius Walker is one of the most prolific scorers in the region, putting up 18.5 points a game last year, while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field. He was named to the SIAC All-Preseason Team. Martravious Little also returns after netting 13.1 points a game a year ago. Returner Duby Maduegbunam was the Maroon Tigers leading rebounder last season, grabbing six a game.

NOTES:

  • Tom Klusman is 677-393 in 38 years as the Tars head coach; he is one of just 16 NCAA Division II coaches with 600 or more wins.
  • Rollins is 5-1 in this four-year rotation of the South Region Crossover; the Tars are 3-0 against Clark and 0-1 against Morehouse, falling 76-72 in Atlanta last season. 
  • All-time, Rollins is 3-0 against CAU and 1-2 against Morehouse. The Tars lone win against the Maroon Tigers came at home in 1992 (79-67). 
  • In its modern era, Rollins is 39-23 in season openers; over the last 10 years the Tars are 8-2 in the season lid-lifter.
  • Rollins was picked to finish second in the Sunshine State Conference Preseason poll.

NEXT UP FOR ROLLINS:
Rollins hosts Florida Tech on Wednesday, November 15 in the Sunshine State Conference opener for both schools. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. Fans can watch live on the new Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.