LAKELAND, Fla. (March 3, 2018) – Rollins posted one of its best defensive efforts of the season, but couldn't get the offense to match and lost to Barry 77-62 in the semifinals of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament.
The Tars trailed by as many as 22 in the first half before closing the opening period with an offensive flurry and getting to within 38-33. After falling off the pace to start the second, Rollins got back to within five, but couldn't get over the hump.
The fourth-seed Tars' season ends with a record of 16-14 while top-seed Barry improves to 20-7 and will play second-seed Eckerd for the conference title on Sunday.
SSC Player of the Year Elvar Fridriksson joined Daniel Mortensen and Sunday Dech with 18 points each for the Bucs. Fridriksson also tallied 10 assists and Dech grabbed eight rebounds.
Rollins was just 6-of-24 shooting in the second half and ended the day 34 percent from the field, including a 3-of-23 mark beyond the arc. The Tars defense forced 23 Bucs turnovers, but Barry shot 50 percent (25-50) from the floor and outrebounded Rollins 37-20.
The Tars suffered through an eight-minute scoreless streak and fell into a 28-7 hole with 9:12 left in the half. Bonner then got Rollins going off the bench, scoring nine points in the closing minutes of the frame and igniting a 26-10 run to get the Tars to within 38-33 at the break.
The start of the second was just like the first with Rollins stumbling out of the gate and falling into a 56-44 hole with 10 minutes to play. Castaneda scored five-straight points and Bonner hit a twisting layup to pull the Tars to within 56-51 with 6:59 left. Barry scored the game's next six points and Rollins would get no closer than nine the rest of the way.
The game was the 1,100th of head coach Tom Klusman's coaching career as the veteran will head into his 39th season next year with a mark of 693-407. The loss also marked the end of the careers of seniors Deion Clark, Jack Fleming, Jeff Merton and Sam Philpott.