Rollins (9-12, 3-10 SSC) vs. No. 7/8 Nova Southeastern (11-2, 17-2 SSC)
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 | 7:30 p.m.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. | The Rick Case Arena
Set-up: The upset-minded Tars head to South Florida on Wednesday to meet seventh-ranked Nova Southeastern. Rollins has dropped its last four in a row with the last three coming down to the wire. On Saturday at home against Saint Leo, Rollins nearly erased a 10-point deficit in the final minute, but lost by five. The Tars are tied with Tampa for ninth in the SSC standings with the top eight getting into the tournament. Rollins is a game back of Embry-Riddle for that last spot and two games behind Palm Beach Atlantic for seventh. Since starting the year with 12-straight wins, NSU has been the class of the conference. The Sharks are the second-highest scoring offense in the nation and lead Division II in both steals and turnover margin. After a loss to Florida Southern on Saturday, NSU holds a one-game lead over Lynn in the conference standings.
Tracking the Tars: Since what looked to be a turning-point win over Florida Southern in January, Rollins has dropped its last four, most recently a 99-94 shootout to Saint Leo. The Tars cut it to a one-possession game in the final seconds, but Leo iced the win at the free throw line. Connor Mckim poured 26 points, one off his career high, to lead the Tars. Hutton Yenor scored 19 while Jakobi Bonner tallied 16 points and seven rebounds. Three Tars average double-digits scoring, led by Bonner's 14.7 points a game. The junior is shooting 52 percent from the field and grabs 4.1 rebounds a night. Mckim is getting 14 points and nearly three assists a game. The pair are the only two players to start every game this year. Yenor is averaging 12.7 points a game off the bench. Over the last five games, he is averaging better than 18 a game. Daniel Loh (4.5 rpg) and Eric Castaneda (4.3 rpg) lead the Tars in rebounding. Rollins is sixth in the SSC in both offense (75.0 ppg) and defense (75.6 ppg).
Tracking the Sharks: Under second-year coach Jim Crutchfield, Nova Southeastern has transformed into an offensive juggernaut. They score more than 100 points a game and have four times have passed 115 points. However, its up-tempo style was slowed down Saturday in Lakeland with Florida Southern posting an upset, 87-82. Dwayne Gibson led the way with 30 points while Mark Matthew tallied 21 points and 12 rebounds. FSC committed just six turnovers, 14 less than NSU had been forcing opponents a game. Matthews leads the way with 20.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Connor Zinaich had been averaging 19.2 points a night, but hasn't played since January 9. David Dennis is putting up 15.5 points and 6.2 assists a game. Mikkel Kolstad leads the nation in three-point shooting at 58 percent while averaging 12 points a game. NSU scores 101.1 points a game while allowing 83.2; its +17.8 scoring margin is fourth-best in Division II. The Sharks also top the country in steals (12.3 spg) and are fourth in turnovers forced (20.2) a game.
- Rollins leads the all-time series with Nova Southeastern 30-12.
- The Tars are 9-8 all-time in Ft. Lauderdale.
- NSU won the first match-up this season, 92-65 in Winter Park. Eric Castaneda had 13 points for Rollins while David Dennis had 24 points and 10 assists for the Sharks.
- Rollins ranks 21st in the nation in steals per game at 9.4.
- The Tars are 23rd nationally at turnovers forced (17.1) a game.
- NSU is second in the nation in offense (101.1 ppg).
- NSU leads the nation in steals per game (12.3), turnover margin (+7.8), total steals (233).
- The Sharks are fourth in the country in offensive rebounds.
- NSU is eighth nationally in three-point field goal percentage (41.2) and ninth in three-pointers per game (11.5).
- Mikkel Klostad (NSU) leads the nation in three-point shooting (58.4 ppg).
- David Dennis (NSU) is ninth nationally with 2.7 steals a game.
- Mark Matthews (NSU) is second in the nation in offensie rebounds per game at 5.1.
- Rollins was picked seventh in the SSC preseason poll; Nova Southeastern was picked fifth.
- Rollins head coach Tom Klusman is 702-419 in his 39th year leading the program. He has the fourth most wins among active NCAA Division II coaches.
Next up: Rollins returns home on Saturday, February 9 to host Palm Beach Atlantic. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at Warden Arena. Fans can listen to the action live on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.