WINTER PARK, Fla. (February 7, 2018) – Rollins trailed by 24 at the half before mounting a comeback for the ages and took a late lead before ultimately falling to Florida Southern 90-88 Wednesday night.
Eric Castaneda was spectacular for Rollins (14-10, 10-6 Sunshine State Conference) with a career-high 34 points, 30 of which came in the second half. The junior was 11-of-14 from the field, 3-of-5 from long distance and 9-of-12 at the charity stripe. He pumped in 13 over the course of five minutes that got the Tars from down 14 to a three-point lead late in the second half.
Florida Southern (15-9, 9-7 SSC) picks up a third-straight conference win, each against the top-three teams in the league. Jonathan Lawton and Brett Hanson both recorded 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Trey Diggs buried seven three-pointers and added 21 points.
Florida Southern was on fire in the first half, hitting 21-of-29 from the field (72 percent), including 13-of-18 (72 percent) from beyond the arc. FSC ended the night 55 percent (31-56) shooting from the field. Rollins shot 43 percent in the first half and got hot in the second to finish the night 31-62 (50 percent) from the floor.
Lawton set the tone with a triple for FSC on the opening possession as the visitor's barrage of three-pointers put the Tars in a 26-11 hole midway through the half. Rollins got to within 11 but the onslaught continued and the Mocs ran out to a 58-34 halftime lead.
Rollins started the comeback trail with a 10-2 run to open the second and cut the FSC lead to 60-44 with 17:40 to play. Castaneda scored six during the span. The Tars would get no closer than 11 for the next eight minutes, but didn't let FSC get ahead by any more than 17 points.
A Jakobi Bonner free throw and layup at the midpoint of the period got the Tars moving and sparked a 14-5 run that got Rollins to within 78-76 with 4:03 left. Seven points came from Castaneda during the run. After a Lawton free throw pushed the FSC lead back to three, Castaneda answered with a deep three of his own to tie the score and another on the next possession to give Rollins an 82-79 lead with 2:58 to play.
Diggs hit from deep for FSC and, after a Castaneda circus shot bucket, was followed by a Lawton triple to put FSC up 88-84 heading into the final minute. Castaneda converted a three-point play with 39 seconds left to get Rollins to within one. The Tars defense got the stop it needed and Deion Clark was fouled on the other end with seven ticks on the clock. He couldn't connect the front end of the 1-and-1 and quickly fouled Lawton. He hit two at the stripe to again put FSC up three. Castaneda took the inbound and fired a long heave with one second left and was fouled by Hanson. The junior made the first, missed the second and intentionally missed the third, but was called for a lane violation. FSC then ran out the final half second.
Rollins will look to get back on track Saturday, February 10 hosting Palm Beach Atlantic in Warden Arena. Game time is slated for 4 p.m. Fans can catch the action live on the Tars Sports Network and SSC Digtial Network at RollinsSports.com.