Rollins (9-8, 3-6 SSC) vs. Florida Tech (7-10, 1-8 SSC)
Wednesday, January 23, 2018 | 7:30 p.m.
Winter Park, Fla. | Warden Arena
Set-up: Riding high after beating rival, 22nd-ranked Florida Southern on Saturday, Rollins next sets its sites on a home date with Florida Tech Wednesday. The win snapped the Tars four-game losing streak and started positive momentum heading into the second half of the Sunshine State Conference schedule. Rollins is currently tied for eighth in the standings with the top-eight getting bids to the postseason. Florida Tech is at the bottom of the standings, having lost its last five. The Panthers lone conference win was an upset of then seventh-ranked Florida Southern in early January. Florida Tech will be playing just its fourth true road game of the season and are still looking for a first win away from Melbourne. Rollins will have to stop the top scorer in the conference in Derek Murphy and the SSC's best rebounder and shot blocker in RJ Coil. The Tars are 5-4 at home this season.
Tracking the Tars: Rollins snapped out of its skid in a big way on Saturday, posting a convincing 83-69 win over rival FSC. In front of a huge, raucous crowd, five Tars scored in double figures, led by 17 from Connor Mckim. The junior also handed out six assists and didn't commit a turnover. Jakobi Bonner and Hutton Yenor both scored 15 while Eric Castaneda and Daniel Loh each netted 11. Bonner is the leading scorer on the season with 15.2 points a game. He is shooting 54 percent from the field and also grabbing 4.1 rebounds a game. Mckim scores 13.5 a game and has handed out a team-high 49 assists. Yenor comes off the bench and is netting 11 points a game. Loh is the top rebounder with 5.1 caroms a game. The Tars are seventh in the conference in offense, scoring 75.5 points a game while the sitting fourth defensively by allowing 73 points a night. Rollins is fourth in the league in three-pointers with 8.4 made per game.
Tracking the Panthers: Tech was 6-4 heading into the holiday break, but have since tallied only one win while stuck in a five-game losing streak. The Panthers hosted Palm Beach Atlantic on Wednesday and lost 71-67. Sesan Russell played all 40 minutes in his first game of the season and led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Derek Murphy added 10 points and 11 rebounds while Antonis Pefanis scored 16. Murphy leads the SSC in scoring with 21.7 points a game. He has scored in double figures every game this season, twice surpassing 30 points. Pefanis scores 14 a night while RJ Coil averages 11.2 points, a league-leading 9.4 rebounds and conference second-best 1.5 blocks. Tech is scoring 73.5 points a game while allowing 77.5.
- Rollins leads the all-time series with Florida Tech 71-34.
- The Tars have won the last three in the series, beating FIT 83-72 in Winter Park and 89-66 in Melbourne last season.
- Rollins is 38-21 against Florida Tech at home.
- The Tars rank ninth in the nation in steals with 10.2 per game and 10th nationally with 173 total steals.
- The Tars are 17th in the country in turnovers forced per game (18).
- Florida Tech is 16th in the nation in free throw attempts (427).
- Derek Murphy (FIT) is 19th nationally in scoring average (22.1).
- RJ Coil (FIT) is 25th in the nation with 9.4 rebounds a game.
- Derek Murphy (FIT) is fifth in Division II with 319 FG attempts.
- Derek Murphy (FIT) is fourth in the country with 151 free throws; 16th in free throws made (97).
- Rollins head coach Tom Klusman is 702-415 in his 39th year leading the program. He has the fourth most wins among active NCAA Division II coaches; Billy Mimis is in his 14th year at Florida Tech and 38th overall in coaching.
Next up: The Tars are on the road to start the second half of the SSC schedule, starting with a visit to Lynn on Saturday, January 26. They then close the month with a trip to Embry-Riddle on Wednesday, January 30. Fans can listen to the action live on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.