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PREVIEW: No. 5 Sharks Visit Rollins Wednesday

PREVIEW: No. 5 Sharks Visit Rollins Wednesday

Complete Game Notes (.pdf)
Match-up:
Rollins (8-4, 2-2 SSC) vs. No. 5/No. 9 Nova Southeastern (10-0, 4-0 SSC) 

When:
Wednesday, January 2, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. 

Where:
Winter Park, Florida | Warden Arena 

Coverage:
WATCH: Tars Sports Network – RollinsSportsLive.com
LISTEN: WPRK 91.5 FM – TuneIn (mobile)
LIVESTATS: TarsStats.com

Set-up: Rollins welcomes the Sunshine State Conference's hottest team in fifth-ranked Nova Southeastern to Warden Arena on Wednesday, kicking off the new calendar year. The Tars patented zone defense will be tested against the Sharks high-octane attack that leads the nation in scoring. NSU also tops Division II in turnovers margin and steals per game while Rollins is one of the best at taking care of the ball. The Tars started 0-2 in SSC play, but have won their last two in league play. Since sneaking by Saint Leo by two, NSU has dominated teams by more than 39 points a game over the last four. The Sharks are coming off a 117-95 thrashing of seventh-ranked Florida Southern. The Tars were picked seventh in the SSC preseason poll and the Sharks fifth, including one first-place vote.

Tracking the Tars: Rollins bounced back from a tough trip to Las Vegas with a convincing win over Saint Leo on Saturday. The Tars led by as many as 27 in the second half and cruised to the finish. Hutton Yenor led the way with 17 points off the bench, shooting 5-of-6 from the field, including 3-of-4 from long range. Jakobi Bonner scored 16 and Connor Mckim added 14. The Tars shot a season-best 10-of-16 from three-point range. Bonner tops the Tars season box score with 16.1 points a game. The junior is shooting 58 percent from the field and is also getting 4.6 rebounds a night. Mckim averages 14 points and nearly three assists a game. Yenor is putting up 10.5 points a night. Rollins averages an SSC fifth-best 79.3 points a game and is fourth in scoring defense, surrendering 72.3 a game. The Tars are plus-one in rebounding margin on the year.  

Tracking the Sharks: In the second-year of its new run-and-gun style, Nova Southeastern heads into the new calendar year as one of just nine unbeaten teams in the nation. The Sharks have reached the century mark in all but two games, twice scoring more than 130 points. NSU hosted seventh-ranked and SSC preseason favorite Florida Southern on Saturday and dispatched the Mocs 117-95. Connor Zinaich led the way with 39 points and seven rebounds while Mark Matthews scored 31. David Dennis had a double-double with 11 pints and 10 assists. The Sharks 111.3 points leads the SSC and nation while they are surrendering 84.7 to opponents, ranking last in the SSC. NSU's full court pressure yields 24 turnovers a game, the best mark in the nation. Ziniach leads the way with 22.3 points a game, shooting 67 percent from the field. Matthews scores 20.5 a night and leads the way with 7.9 rebounds a game. Dennis is scoring 17.2 a game and Dwayne Gibson scores 10.7 points a night.

Notes:

  • Rollins leads the series with Nova Southeastern 30-11 all-time; the Tars are 20-2 at home vs. NSU.
  • Rollins won two of three games against NSU last season. They split the regular season, 81-71 Rollins in Winter Park and 90-71 NSU in Ft. Lauderdale. They met in the quarterfinals of the SSC Tournament with the Tars winning 78-75 at Rollins.  
  • Rollins is sixth in the nation in steals per game (10.9) and fifth in total steals (131).
  • Rollins ranks eighth in Division II in turnovers forced per game at 19.6.
  • Connor Mckim (RC) is 21st in the nation in total steals (27).
  • Jakobi Bonner is 30th nationally in free throw attempts (79).
  • NSU leads the nation in: scoring offense (111.3 ppg), scoring margin (+26.6), assists per game (22.9), steals per game (15.1), turnover margin (+13.0), total steals (151) and turnovers forced per game (24.0).
  • David Dennis (NSU)is seventh in the nation in assists per game (6.8)
  • David Dennis (NSU) is second in the nation in steals per game (3.5) and sixth in total steals (35.0).
  • Mark Matthews (NSU) is second nationally in offensive rebounds per game (4.7).
  • Connor Zinaich (NSU) was named the USBWA National Player of the Week on Dec. 24.
  • Rollins head coach Tom Klusman is 701-411 in his 38th year leading the program. He has the fourth most wins among active NCAA Division II coaches; Jim Crutchfield is in his second season at NSU and has the highest winning percentage in NCAA history. He is 27-10 at NSU and 386-81 overall (West Liberty State prior to NSU).

Next up: The Tars stay home from their next game, hosting Barry on Saturday, January 5 at 4 p.m. Fans can catch the action live on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.

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