Berry’s Hot Hand Guides Men’s Basketball to SSC Semifinal Berth

Winter Park, Fla. – Senior Ben Berry dropped a career-high 32 points behind an impressive 13-of-14 outing at the charity stripe to help the sixth-seeded Lynn University men's basketball team get hot late in the second half and upset No. 3 seed Rollins College, 85-72, on Wednesday in the opening round of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament.

INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: Lynn 85, Rollins 72
Records: Lynn (13-14), Rollins (21-8)
Location: Warden Arena | Winter Park, Fla.
Series: Rollins leads 25-15 all-time
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HOW IT HAPPENED:

First Half

  • Rollins immediately opened up the scoring with an inside lay-in as both sides started fast, producing a 9-9 tie at the first media timeout. The Tars found success early on the offensive glass, leading to easy finishes around the bucket. 
  • Following a Pavle Raickovic jumper at the 15:49 mark, the Fighting Knights struggled to hit the bottom of the twine, going over six minutes without converting a field goal. Fortunately, Rollins only built a 19-12 lead during the cold stretch as Fred Landers dropped in five quick points to help Lynn tie it back up at 19.
  • The Tars would remain in control for the rest of the half with their seven-point lead at the intermission being the largest of the first stanza.
  • Berry hit double figures in the opening chapter, combining with Landers for 19 of the team's 28 first-half points. The Tars out-shot the Fighting Knights, 41.4-22.2%.

Second Half

  • The second half belonged to the one-two punch from Lynn guards Berry and Russell Wilson, with Vieux Kande providing big plays inside coming off the bench.
  •  The Fighting Knights slowly chipped away at the Tars' advantage, breaking the deficit to two (43-31) five minutes into the second half. Rollins responded on an 8-2 run to buff up its cushion.
  • At the 9:08 mark, Wilson drained a daggering 3-pointer, giving Lynn its first lead of the game, 56-55. On the ensuing possession, Wilson grabbed the defensive board on a Rollins miss, drove the ball coast-to-coast and finished around the basket, seemingly shifting the momentum in the gym to the visiting squad.
  • Lynn never gave back the lead, shining at the free-throw line down the stretch to reject a Rollins takeover. Berry, Wilson and Kande combined to score 17 of Lynn's final 18 points, all from the charity stripe.

STATS OF THE GAME:

  • Berry added 10 boards to his personal-best 32 points for his third double-double of the season and swatted a team-high two blocks.
  • Wilson filled out the stat sheet with yet another double-double, recording 13 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, four steals and a block.
  • Landers was Lynn's final double-digit scorer, dropping in 14 points.
  • Kande was clutch in the second half, hitting a career-high 7-of-7 attempts at the free-throw line. He finished with nine points, nine boards and a block.
  • After a dismal 22.2% shooting clip from the field in the first half, the Fighting Knights bounced back in the second, hitting 15-of-33 (45.5%).
  • Rollins had three players score in double-figures, led by Sam Philpott's 14 off the bench.

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:

  • Lynn's 82.1% performance at the free-throw line is a season-high.
  • Wilson now has four double-doubles on the season, including three in the last four games.
  • Berry tied his season-high with five made 3-pointers.
  • Lynn doubled its first-half scoring output in the second half.
  • Rollins won both of the regular-season matchups by an average of 16.5 points per game.

UP NEXT:
Lynn will head to Daytona Beach this weekend as Embry-Riddle University plays host to the final two rounds of the SSC Tournament. The Fighting Knights square off against No. 2 seed Eckerd College on Saturday, March 5 at 2:30 p.m. Click here for the SSC Championship Central page.