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Merton’s Buzzer Beater Gives Tars Sixth-Straight Win

Jeff Merton
Jeff Merton

WINTER PARK, Fla. (January 27, 2018) – Senior Jeff Merton hit a second game winner at the buzzer this month, giving Rollins a thrilling 64-63 victory over Lynn on Saturday. 

Down by two with six seconds left, Merton rebounded a Lynn missed free throw and trailed the play before finding his spot and draining a deep three as the horn sounded. The play was a near carbon copy of his winner over Tampa two week prior. 

The shot gives Rollins sole possession of first place in the Sunshine State Conference at 10-3 and a sixth-straight win to improve to 14-7 overall. 

Merton was the only Tar to score in double-figures, leading the Rollins with 18 points and eight rebounds. The senior from Naples was 6-of-14 from the field and hit four 3-pointers, none bigger than the last two-both with less than a minute to play. Connor Mckim and Eric Castaneda each scored nine points with Deion Clark getting eight. 

Lynn (10-9, 7-6 SSC) was led by Rasheed Worrell's 18 points and six rebounds. Michael Baez added 14 points and Brandon Bornelus scored 11. 

It was an off-shooting night by Rollins standards as the Tars came into the game leading the SSC and ranked ninth nationally in field goal percentage. Rollins was 24-52 (46 percent) from the field and just 9-of-16 at the free throw line. Lynn hit 22-of-58 (38 percent) from the field and outrebounded Rollins 35-34. Both teams took care of the ball with Rollins having eight turnovers to Lynn's six. 

It was a slow offensive start for both teams with a Worrell three-point play giving Lynn a 21-20 lead after the first 13 minutes of action. Jakobi Bonner gave Rollins a one-point lead on the next possession before Lynn started to roll and grabbed a 31-27 advantage with 1:06 left in the half. 

Merton hit from deep in the final minute to get the Tars to within 31-30 at the break. 

Lynn controlled much of the second half and put Rollins down 53-46 with 9:36 to play. A Mckim three-point play and six-straight from Clark got the Tars back even 55-55 with 6:27 left. After another Worrell bucket, Mckim drained a long three-pointer to get Rollins in front 58-57 at the 5:13 mark. 

Lynn would later go up by four, 62-58, with just 1:10 left. Merton hit from deep to pull the Tars to within one and under a minute to play. Two empty possessions for both teams followed until Rollins fouled Michael Baez with six seconds left. He hit the first and missed the second at the liine. Merton corralled the rebound and quickly got it  up court to Mckim. The point guard, who hit a buzzer beater to beat Lynn their last trip to Winter Park, then found Merton for the winner at the top of the key. 

Rollins will look to keep its winning streak going on Wednesday, January 31 at Embry-Riddle. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. in Daytona Beach. Fans can follow the action live on the Tars Sports Network and SSC Digital Network at RollinsSports.com.