LAKELAND, Fla. (January 13, 2018) – Rollins let a late lead in regulation slip away and was forced into double overtime before finally getting past Florida Southern 117-111 on the road Saturday.
The Tars (11-7, 7-3 Sunshine State Conference) shot an incredible 41-of-47 at the free throw line and had six players score in double figures.
Sam Philpott led the way for Rollins with a career-high 36 points, tied for the seventh-most in a game in school history. The senior shot 13-of-18 from the field, including 3-of-5 from long range, and hit 7-of-8 at the free throw line. He also pulled down eight rebounds.
Connor Mckim was 10-for-10 at the free throw line to add 18 points and eight rebounds. Jeff Merton came up big in overtime to tally 16 points while Eric Castaneda scored 15. Jack Fleming and Deion Clark scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Florida Southern (9-8, 3-6 SSC) was led by Brett Hanson's 26 points, six rebounds and five assists. Jonathan Lawton netted 24 points and Ben Marello 22. Trey Diggs scored 17 points and Slinky Jones tallied 12 points and nine rebounds.
Rollins shot 34-of-64 (53 percent) from the field to go along with its 41-of-47 mark (87 percent) at the free throw line. In stark contrast, FSC was 44-of-91 (48 percent) shooting, including 18-of-46 from beyond the arc, while hitting just 5-of-12 at the charity stripe. Rollins won the battle on the glass, outrebounding its hosts 45-40.
The Tars hit four of their first five from the field and went up 12-5 early in the game. Florida Southern came roaring back and put the Tars down 31-19 at the midway point of the first. Rollins would trail by as many as 14 in the half before coming all the way back and twice tying the score in the final two minutes. FSC scored five unanswered in the waning seconds and put the Tars down 48-43 at intermission.
The second half was played close with neither team leading by more than six points over the first 12 minutes. Philpott put the Tars up 77-74 with 7:17 to play and started a 10-2 run that gave Rollins an 78-76 advantage with 3:41 left.
The Mocs then caught fire from the outside and started trading two free throws for three-pointers and whittled the Tars lead to just 97-94 after a Hansen triple with 26 seconds left. Rollins turned it over on the next possession and Jones made the Tars pay from deep to knot the score at 97 with 17 ticks left. Philpott was whistled for a charge on the ensuing Rollins possession and Lawton's potential game winner was off the mark, sending the game into overtime.
In the first extra frame, the teams traded scores with the game sitting tied 102-102 with 1:43 on the clock. Jack Raush put the Mocs up by a bucket and a Merton three-pointer missed to give the ball back to FSC with a two-point lead and under a minute to play. Fleming came up with a steal for the Tars and was fouled, calmly sinking two free throws to again knot the score, this time at 104, with nine seconds left. Southern wouldn't get a clean look at the basket and the game continued into a second overtime.
In the second OT, Philpott hit a backdoor layup at the 1:54 mark to tie the score for an 11th time, 109-109. After two big defensive stops, Mckim put the Tars back on top by two with a pair at the free throw line. Fleming later added a pair to make it a four-point game before Jones cut the lead in half, 113-111 with 20 seconds left. That would be the Mocs last score as Rollins iced the game at the free throw line with Philpott and Castaneda going perfect at the stripe down the stretch.
Rollins is idle for seven days before starting the second half of the Sunshine State Conference schedule on Saturday, January 20 at home against nationally-ranked and SSC-leading Barry. The Tars trail the Bucs by just a half game in the standings. Tip off is slated for 4 p.m. in Warden Arena. Fans can catch the action live on the Tars Sports Network and SSC Digital Network at SunshineStateConference.tv.