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PREVIEW: Rollins Travels to Saint Leo Saturday Night

Marcus Camacho
Marcus Camacho

MATCH-UP:
Rollins (12-13, 7-12 SSC) at Saint Leo (12-15, 7-12 SSC)

WHEN:
Saturday, February 24, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:
Saint Leo, Fla. – Marion Bowman Activities Center

COVERAGE:
VIDEO: SSC Digital Network– SunshineStateConference.tv
AUDIO: Tars Sports Network – RollinsSports.com
LIVESTATS: TarsStats.com

SET-UP:
Rollins travels to Saint Leo Saturday night looking to snap a six-game losing streak and gain positive momentum heading into the postseason. The Tars are sixth in the SSC standings and can earn a SSC Tournament first round home game with a win at Leo and Nova Southeastern loss at Florida Tech. A Tars loss would mean a first round road game at either Eckerd or Florida Southern. Saint Leo has lost its last four and can solidify its spot in the tournament with a win. A loss to the Tars and Florida Tech win would put the Lions on the outside looking in at the bracket. These two teams last met in December with the Tars cruising to an 86-58 victory in Winter Park. The Tars are 3-6 on the road this season while the Lions are 6-6 at home on the year.

TRACKING THE TARS:
Since a 64-63 win over Lynn in January, the Tars have allowed nearly 90 points a game and taken losses in each game this month. Eckerd spoiled the Tars senior day a week ago, giving Rollins an 85-80 loss to close the home schedule. Jakobi Bonner led the Tars with a career-high 23 points and seven rebounds. Jeff Merton chipped in 21 points, hitting 5-of-8 from long range and Deion Clark added 15 points and six rebounds. Leading scorer Sam Philpott (17.6 ppg) has been sidelined the last three games with injury and isn't expected to suit up against the Lions. Merton is averaging 16.9 points and 4.2 rebounds a game. He is shooting 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc. Connor Mckim is getting 11.1 points and 3.5 assists a game with both Clark and Eric Castaneda scoring 10.4 a night. Rollins is scoring 83.7 points a game and allowing 82.5 a game.  

TRACKING THE LIONS:  
Saint Leo had won three in a row coming into February, but dropped its last four heading into the match-up with Rollins. The Lions are coming off an 84-69 loss at Eckerd on Wednesday. Isaiah Hill led the way with 20 points and five rebounds. Kyran McClure and Junior Searcy both added 16 points. Hill leads the way on the season with 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds a night while Searcy is getting 12 points a game. DeAndre King and Tyreece Brice are both scoring 11.6 points a game. Saint Leo is at the bottom of league in offense with 72 points a game, but ranks third in scoring defense, surrendering just 76.6 a game.

NOTES:

  • Earlier this season on Dec. 9, Rollins defeated Saint Leo by a score of 86-58.
  • Last year, Rollins swept the season series against Saint Leo. On Jan. 14, 2017, in Pasco County, the Tars won by a score of 77-72, before finishing the season sweep with a win by a score of 82-74 on Feb. 25, 2017.
  • This season at Warden Arena, Rollins has been solid, earning a record of 11-5 (.688). Away from the familiar confines, however, Rollins is 3-8 (.273), including 3-6 (.333) in true away games.
  • In his 38th year as the Tars head coach, Tom Klusman is 691-406 (.630), which makes him one of just 16 Division II coaches with 600 or more wins.
  • Jeff Merton is ranked eighth in program history for career points scored with 1,675 points. He trails seventh ranked Jonny Reibel (1,679 pts) by four points, sixth ranked Bruce Howland (1,682 pts) by seven points and fifth ranked Dick Bezemer (1,722 pts) by 43 points.
  • Merton is ranked fourth in program history for three-pointers made (239). He trails third ranked Caleb Springer (254) by 15 three-pointers made.
  • Sam Philpott ranks 18th in program history for career points scored with 1,429 points. He trails 17th ranked Eric Faber (1,466 pts) by 37 points.
  • Philpott is ranked fourth in program history for FG percentage (58.0%).
  • Rollins has the 20th most assists in the country with 474. Through 27 games, their assist total equates to 17.6 per game, which is the 19th most in all of men's Division II.
  • Between wins and losses, a major variance can be found under rebounds per game, especially defensive boards. In wins, Rollins grabs 35.7 rebounds per game, including 26.6 on the defensive side, while in losses, the Tars grab a mere 26.8 boards per game, including 18.4 on the defensive side.

NEXT UP FOR ROLLINS:
Rollins already clinched a spot in the SSC Tournament and has an outside shot at hosting a first round game on Wednesday, February 28. Should the Tars win over Saint Leo and Nova Southeastern lose to Florida Tech, Rollins would rise to the No. 4 seed and welcome the No. 5 seed to Winter Park. Any other scenario, the Tars would be on the road to open play. Opponents, locations and times will be announced Saturday night. All games can be found on the SSC Digital Network at SunshineStateConference.tv and the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.