Freshman Kevin Capers' 30 points and a nearly full house at Jenkins Field House weren't quite enough to get the Moccasins a win Saturday night, as Rollins held off the Moccasins with some clutch free throw shooting in the final minute to preserve a 76-71 Sunshine State Conference win.
With his career-high 30 points, Capers accomplished a feat that had not been done in nearly 33 years by a Moccasin. The last FSC freshman to score at least 30 in a game was Lester Wright, who had 36 in a 107-102 NCAA Tournament loss to Tuskegee on Mar. 2, 1979. Capers, who had 22 of his points in the second half, was 11-19 from the field, 2-4 on three-pointers and 6-7 from the free throw line.
The Tars' victory enabled them to take over sole possession of first place in the SSC at 7-2, 14-5 overall. Eckerd and Florida Tech are tied for second at 6-3 after the Tritons' win over the Panthers Saturday and the Moccasins are fourth at 5-4, 12-6 overall, tied with Barry. Rollins' win was its first at Jenkins Field House since Jan. 10, 2007, snapping a four-game losing streak on the Moccasins' home court. It also stopped the Moccasins' streak of 21 straight SSC home wins, dating back to Feb. 21, 2009.
In front of a crowd of 1,697, the largest at Jenkins Field House since Feb. 6, 2010, the Moccasins scored first, then saw the Tars sprint to an 11-4 lead in less than three minutes. With 6:47 left in the first half, a layup by Capers got the lead back for the Moccasins. Less than a minute later Capers slammed home a dunk and the Moccasins were up 23-18, but Rollins closed out the half with a 16-6 run to enjoy a 34-29 advantage at the intermission.
The Moccasins stayed close in the second half until a three-pointer by Capers tied the game at 54-54 with 9:09 remaining. Garrett Putman followed with a basket at 7:47 to put the Moccasins in front, 56-54, but that would be their last lead. Scott Schuette sank a three-pointer that put Rollins back on top 57-56 at the 6:45 mark and the Tars were able to maintain the lead the rest of the way, connecting on eight of 12 free throws in the final 52 seconds to preserve the win. Rollins shot 57.1% from the field in the second half (12-21)
After Capers' 30 points, only one other Moccasin scored in double figures - Brett Bailey with 10 points. Rollins had five players in double figures, led by Jeremy Sharpe's 18. Chris Malcolm had 15, Dave Diakite produced a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, Myk Brown tossed in 11 points and Schuette, who was averaging just 4.3 points, chipped in 11 off the bench, nine in the second half.
Despite missing 11 free throws, the Tars had a 24-9 advantage from the free throw line. Rollins connected on 10 of 21 from three-point range, while the Moccasins were just six of 25. The Tars had the rebounding edge 38-31.
The Moccasins are on the road Wednesday night with a 7:30 p.m. SSC game at Florida Tech.