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PREVIEW: First Place Tars Visit Tech Wednesday Night

Jon Ross Richarson
Jon Ross Richarson


Rollins (12-7, 8-3 SSC) at Florida Tech (10-9, 5-6 SSC) 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 – 7:30 p.m. 

Melbourne, Florida – Clemente Center

VIDEO: SSC Digital Network–
AUDIO: Tars Sports Network–

Tied atop the Sunshine State Conference Standings with six weeks left in the regular season, Rollins visits Florida Tech looking to continue its SSC-best four-game winning streak. The trending upwards Tars are coming off a convincing upset win over 19th-ranked Barry, led by reigning SSC Player of the Week Sam Philpott. Rollins enters the game looking for the season sweep over Tech. FIT is tied for sixth in the conference standings and had its four-game winning streak stopped by co-SSC leader Eckerd last week. The Panthers boast the conference's leading scorer and finalist for the Bevo Francis Award as the nation's top small college player in Sam Daniel. Florida Tech is 6-5 at the Clemente Center this season while Rollins stands at 2-3 in true road games.

Rollins has won every way possible during its streak; double-digits over Nova Southeastern, on a last second shot over Tampa, in double OT at Florida Southern and then holding off Barry last Saturday, 94-82. Philpott led the way with 23 points, shooting 9-of-11 from the field. He took SSC Player of the Week honors for the second time this year. Connor Mckim added 17 points while Jeff Merton poured in 16. Rollins shot 56 percent in the game and held Barry to just 10-of-44 from beyond the arc. Philpott is fifth in the SSC and tops the Tars with 21.0 points a game. During the Tars current winning streak, he has averaged 24 points and 5.8 rebounds a game. His .628 field goal percentage is second in the SSC and 15th best in the country. The senior is also 12th in the SSC in field goals made and 19th in total points (399). Fellow veteran Jeff Merton is scoring 14.6 points a game and hauls in 4.3 rebounds. Connor Mckim and Eric Castaneda are both scoring 11.7 a game while Deion Clark is getting 11.5 an outing. The Tars are sixth in the conference in both offense (85.1 ppg) and defense (82.1 ppg). Rollins is the top shooting team in the league, hitting 51 percent from the field.   

Florida Tech was moving itself up the SSC standings the last three weeks and rode a four-game winning streak into a date with Eckerd on Saturday. The powerful Tritons then send Tech home with a 90-71 road loss to halt the streak. Patrick Anderson led the way with 18 points while Sam Daniel scored 17. Jordan Majors added 15 points. Daniel is the most prolific scorer in the SSC this season, averaging 25.7 points a game. His mark is fourth-best in the nation while his 75 total three-pointers is also fourth-best. Six times this year he has scored more than 30 points, including a 47 point outburst at Nova Southeastern earlier in the year. Majors scores 21.5 points a night Anderson scores 12.4 points a night while Richard Coil leads the FSC n field goals percentage, knocking down 67 percent from the field. FIT is fifth in the league with 85.3 points a game and allows an eighth-best 81.2 points a night.


• Earlier this season, Rollins defeated the Florida Tech by a score of 83-72. The game, which was played in Winter Park, was the first win during what would become a season-long five game winning streak.

• Last year, the Tars and Panthers split their annual home-and-home series, as each team defended their home court. On Nov. 30, 2016, Florida Tech won the first encounter, which happened in Melbourne, by a score of 90-75. The Tars managed to get revenge in Winter Park on Jan. 21, 2017 with a 91-82 victory.

• The last time Rollins earned a victory in Melbourne was during the 2015-16 season. Specifically, in Jan. 2016, the Tars defeated the Panthers, 89-74.

• Until their recent double-overtime win against Florida Southern, Rollins had previously dropped five in a row away from Warden Arena. Although two of them were neutral site games, the Tars are just 2-3 in true-away games and 0-2 in neutral site matchups.

• In his 38th year as the Tars head coach, Tom Klusman is 689-400 (.633), which makes him one of just 16 Division II coaches with 600 or more wins.

Jeff Merton is ranked 14th in program history for career points scored with 1,525 points. He trails 13th ranked Larry Martinez (1,528 pts) by three points and 12th ranked Dan Wolf (1,549 pts) by 24 points.

Jeff Merton is tied for fifth in program history for three-pointers made (211). Merton is tied with Jonny Reibel and trails fourth ranked Scott Martin (236) by 25 long range makes.

Sam Philpott ranks 18th in program history for career points scored with 1,379 points. He trails 17th ranked Eric Faber (1,466 pts) by 87 points. This season, Philpott has scored 399 points, which ranks the Tars leading scorer 17th among all Division II men's players.

Sam Philpott is ranked fourth in program history for FG percentage (58.8%).

• This season, Sam Philpott has made 150 field goals, which is the 10th most in the country.

• The Tars average 18.4 assists per game, which is the 13th most in all of men's Division II. Also, Rollins has the ninth most assists in the country with 350 through 19 games.


The Tars return home on Saturday, January 27 to host Lynn at 4 p.m. Just four more home game remain on the Tars home slate. Fans can follow the action live on the Tars Sports Network and new SSC Digital Network at