Lynn Falls in Postseason Game After Rollins’ Shot in Final Seconds
By: Michael Demyan
The Lynn University Fighting Knights fell 75-73 to Rollins College away from home Wednesday, March 1, knocking them out of postseason play in the opening round of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament.
The first half proved to be an uphill battle for the sixth-seeded Fighting Knights as third-seeded Rollins took the lead early and did not let go of it until under 10 minutes remained in the game.
Rollins held a 5-0 lead before the end of the first minute thanks to a layup from Mike Bedulskis and a three-pointer by Joey Galvis. Lynn’s Marquan Botley answered with a three-pointer of his own, but Rollins soon jumped out to a 20-10 lead.
With just over a minute remaining in the half, Rollins was holding onto a 17-point lead before Kevin O’Brien made a three-pointer to stop the Fighting Knight’s three minute streak without scoring. At halftime, Rollins was up 46-31.
Lynn started to step up their game once play resumed as they went on a 13-3 run to come back to within five points at 49-44. With 11:47 remaining, the lead was cut down to just four.
Eric Castaneda followed by making one of two free-throw attempts for Rollins. Allen Baez grabbed the defensive rebound and Marquan Botley made a three-pointer to close the gap to only two points at 55-53.
Less than two minutes later, the Fighting Knight’s Jamal Palmer scored on a layup to tie the game at 57. He was fouled on the play by Joey Galvis and successfully managed to get the three-point play to put Lynn on top for the first time of the night with 9:44 remaining.
Botley followed with a layup of his own to extend their lead to three and with 6:23 on the clock, the Fighting Knights were continuing their run by tacking on more via a successful trip to the free-throw line, bringing the score to 65-61.
The lead fell back into the hands of Rollins after a basket from Sam Philpott with 4:41 left, but Lynn was not ready to let the win escape from them. Baez responded with a three-pointer to take the lead back at 70-68 and Vieux Kande followed with a layup to stretch it to 72-68.
The Fighting Knights continued to hold onto the lead until Philpott tied the game at 73 on a free-throw with 1:06 remaining in the game. The score stayed the same until seven seconds were left and Connor McKim scored on a layup, which put Rollins up 75-73. Jamal Palmer tried to win the game on a three-point attempt, but missed the shot right before the buzzer sounded.
The loss meant the end of the season for the Fighting Knights, whose final record was 13-14. Botley led the team with 18 points, along with six assists and a block. He was also named as the league’s Newcomer of the Year. Philpott led Rollins in scoring with 18 points as well.
The win for Rollins means they will be playing Eckerd in the semifinals on March 4.