WINTER PARK, Fla. (February 17, 2018) – Rollins fell behind early and played catch-up all afternoon, never getting over the hump and dropping an 85-80 decision to Eckerd on Saturday.
The loss is a sixth-straight for the Tars who drop to 14-13 overall and 10-9 in Sunshine State Conference play. Rollins has clinched a spot in the SSC Tournament and will most likely need a win at Saint Leo and some help to host a first round game.
Eckerd improves to 19-6 overall and 12-6 in the SSC, a game back of leader Barry.
Sophomore Jakobi Bonner led the way for the Tars with a career-high 23 points. He was 7-of-9 from the field and 9-of-9 at the free throw line while also grabbing seven rebounds. Merton totaled 21 points, three blocks and three steals while Clark tallied 15 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Rollins outshot Eckerd 56 percent (28-50) to 53 percent (31-58), but was beat on the glass 32-23.
The first half was played close throughout with neither team holding more than a two-possession lead. After Blake Morrow hit a three for EC to tie the game for the seventh time, Connor Mckim hit a driving bucket to put the Tars on top and give the game its seventh lead change. Rollins however wouldn't score again until the final seconds of the half as Eckerd went up 48-38 late in the frame.
A Clark tip-in at the buzzer sent the game to intermission with the Tars trailing 48-40.
After EC went back up 10 to start the second, Rollins scored the next six points and closed the gap to 50-46 with 16:02 to play. The Tars got to within four, four more times until a pair of Bonner free throws finally gained some ground for the Tars, closing the gap to 63-60 with 8:03 to play.
The Tritons went back up by eight with 4:01 left, but the Tars came charging back and cut the deficit to 75-73 on a banked-in three-pointer by Merton. After a timeout Keshawn Ingram hit from deep up against the shot clock for EC, again pushing the lead to two possessions.
Rollins got to within three twice in crunch time, but Eckerd was solid at the free throw line and escaped Winter Park.
Rollins will close the regular season on Saturday, February 24 with a trip to Saint Leo. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. Fans can catch the action live on the Tars Sports Network and SSC Digital Network at RollinsSports.com.