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PREVIEW: Rollins Hosts Two before Thanksgiving

Christian Munson
Christian Munson

MATCH-UPS:
Rollins vs. P.R. Bayamon – Tues. November 21, 2017 – 7 p.m.
Rollins vs. Florida Memorial – Wed. November 22, 2017 – 2 p.m. 

WHERE:
Warden Arena inside the Alfond Sports Center – Winter Park, Fla. 

COVERAGE:
VIDEO: SSC Digital Network– SunshineStateConference.tv
VIDEO: Tars Sports Network – RollinsSports.com
Play-by-Play: Robert Segal; Color: Jim Ferro
LIVESTATS: TarsStats.com 

SET-UP:
Rollins steps out of Sunshine State Conference play after picking up two league wins last week to host Puerto Rico Bayamon and Florida Memorial on back-to-back days. The Tars have amped up their defense over the last two games and will look to continue their winning ways heading into the Thanksgiving holiday break. Bayamon will be in action for the first time this season as the date with the Tars starts its annual Florida swing that also includes a trip to Eckerd and the Florida Tech Thanksgiving Tournament. Florida Memorial is 3-2 on the year and coming off a hard-fought overtime loss to NAIA 20th ranked St. Thomas its last time out. The Lions are ranked No. 14 in the latest NAIA national rankings and were the preseason favorite in The Sun Conference.

TRACKING THE TARS:
Rollins has put its two losses to start the season in the rearview mirror and since rattled off two Sunshine State Conference wins. The Tars were in Boca to battle Lynn on Saturday and came out with an 82-76 win. Sam Philpott led the way with 24 points while Deion Clark chipped in 16. Eric Castaneda totaled 15 points and six rebounds and Connor Mckim handed out 10 assists. Philpott was named the SSC Player of the Week and leads the Tars on the season with 24.3 points a game. He is shooting 61 percent from the field, seventh best in the SSC. Jeff Merton retuned from injury against Lynn and is getting 15 points a game while Castaneda averages 14.8 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. Mckim is second in the SSC with 6.5 assists a game and lead the Tars on the glass, snagging 5.8 rebounds a game. Rollins is averaging 87.5 points a game and allowing 84.8. 

TRACKING THE VAQUEROS:
Puerto Rico Bayamon brings a very experienced roster to its 2017-18 US mainland opener, led by senior Nathaniel Martinez. In six games against NCAA competition last season, he averaged 18.7 points, hitting 17-of-46 from long range. Sophomore forward Luis Cuascut also had a strong stretch of games, averaging 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. Senior guard Ricardo DeJesus scored 7.3 points a game last year and handed out 15 assists.     

TRACKING THE LIONS:  
Florida Memorial gave the 20th-ranked team in NAIA all they had before falling to Saint Thomas 88-80 in overtime on Saturday. Travis Mitchell led the way with 24 points and nine rebounds while Evens Jacques added 19 points and eight rebounds. Omar Outar filled the stat sheet with 10 points, six assists and five rebounds. Mitchell leads the Lions on the season, averaging 14.6 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. Outar is netting 13.2 a night while Jacques is putting up 9.3 a game. FMU is very strong on the boards, outrebounding its opponents by seven a game. The Lions are scoring 69.8 a game and allowing nearly 66 a night.    

NOTES:

  • Tom Klusman is 679-395 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 7-1 all-time against P.R. Bayamon with the first meeting coming in the 1998-99 season. The Tars lone loss came in 2008, 88-82. The Tars and Vaqueros last met on Nov. 23, 2015 with Rollins posting a 105-72 win.
  • The Tars are 2-0 all-time with Florida Memorial. They last played on Jan. 3, 2015 with the Tars taking a 71-47 victory.
  • Sam Philpott was named the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 20, the first time in his career he received the award.

NEXT UP FOR ROLLINS:
Rollins jumps right back into league play on Wednesday, November 29 hosting Embry-Riddle at 7:30 p.m. Fans can follow the action live on the Tars Sports Network and new SSC Digital Network at SunshineStateConference.tv.