WINTER PARK, Fla. (November 21, 2017) – Senior Sam Philpott poured in a career-high 31 points to lead Rollins past the University of Puerto Rico Bayamon 99-88 on Tuesday.
The win is a third-straight for the Tars (3-2) while Bayamon falls to 0-1 on the year.
Philpott was 9-of-17 from the field, including a trio of three-pointers, while also hitting 10-of-14 at the stripe. The reigning SSC Player of the Week also recorded five rebounds and handed out four assists.
Eric Castaneda added 22 points on 6-of-9 shooting with five buckets coming beyond the arc. Jeff Merton scored 14 points to go along with seven rebounds while Connor Mckim tallied 12 points and six assists.
Nathaniel Martinez led the Cowboys with 23 points and seven rebounds. Luis Gonzalez added 21 points while Evander Ortiz and Luis Cuascut netted 12 each.
Rollins shot a 50 percent (30-60) from the field and 25-of-32 at the free throw line. UPRB was 34-of-66 in the game (52 percent) behind a 61 percent second half. The Tars were slightly outrebounded, 34-33 and forced 15 turnovers to committing 13.
The Cowboys jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the Tars could settle into their offense, but finally got things going and found themselves down 16-13 with 13:23 left in the half. Castaneda earned a pair at the line and Mckim followed with a three-pointer that sparked a 15-0 Rollins run and gave the hosts a 28-16 advantage with 8:19 until intermission.
Bayamon got to within 33-31, but Rollins again went on a big scoring spurt and took a 51-37 lead into the break after back-to-back Merton triples in the final minute.
Rollins kept the pedal down to start the second and used three Castaneda three-pointers on three-straight possessions to take a 69-55 lead with 12:18 left. A Parker Davis strip and breakaway layup gave Rollins its biggest least of the night, 80-58 midway through the second.
The Cowboys however, would not go away and outscored Rollins 19-3 over the next five minutes and closed the gap to 83-77 with 5:36 left. Quick six points by the Tars got the lead back to double-digits and they took care of business at the free throw line down the stretch to secure the win.
- Tom Klusman is 680-395 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 now 8-1 all-time against P.R. Bayamon.
- 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.
- Philpott's previous career-high was 27 points, set last season against Angelo State in Las Vegas.
- Castaneda was just two points off his career-high 24 points set in this year's season opener with Clark Atlanta.
- Jeff Merton passed Scott Martin for 21st on the Tars all-time points list, now with 1,335.
- Philpott passed Deon Troupe and Steve Heis into 33rd on the Tars scoring chart, now with 1,108 career points.
- Connor Mckim has recorded five or more assists in every game this season.
Rollins has a quick turnaround, hosting Florida Memorial at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22. Fans can catch the action live on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.