Missing Mocs Return to Lead Florida Southern to 85-81 Win Over Nova SE
LAKELAND – After missing all or most of the last two games, Terry Jenkins and Cameron Wooten returned just in time to lead Florida Southern to a come-from-behind win and give head coach Linc Darner his 100th win as the Moccasins’ head coach. With Jenkins and Wooten combining for 12 straight points during a critical four-minute stretch late in the second half, Florida Southern was able to rally for an 85-81 victory over Nova Southeastern.
Florida Southern (14-5, 6-2) and Nova Southeastern (11-7, 4-4) were the only teams in the Sunshine State Conference averaging better than 80 points per game, and each of them got there again Wednesday night. The Sharks also came into the game leading the SSC in 3-point shooting percentage and 3-point field goals, and went 11-for-20 to keep the game close all throughout, and give themselves a chance to win even as the Mocs tried to pull away in the closing minutes.
Nova’s John Brooks, the SSC individual leader in 3-point percentage, had his best game of the season too, going 7-for-8 from long range, and scoring a game-high 25 points. The senior guard made three in the final minute, but it was the shooting ability of Wooten and Jenkins that ultimately won out. The two 5th-year seniors had missed virtually all of the previous two games against Tampa and Rollins, Jenkins due to illness, and Wooten due to injury.
Florida Southern trailed by four with less than nine minutes to play when Wooten hit a 3-pointer to bring the Mocs within one. They later tied the game at 63 on a three-point play by Brett Bailey, but Brooks put the Sharks back ahead with a 3-pointer on their next possession with 6:14 remaining.
What followed was a 12-0 run by the Moccasins, with Terry Jenkins and Wooten doing all of the scoring.
Jenkins fired the first salvo with a game-tying 3-pointer, and a jumper by Wooten with 4:41 to play gave the Mocs a 68-66 lead. Jenkins then made four straight free throws before Wooten hit a back-breaking 3-pointer with 1:55 on the clock. That came after the Sharks nearly forced a turnover near mid-court, only to watch Rion Rayfield scramble out of pressure and find Wooten wide open in the right corner. He calmly drained the shot for the last of his 12 points on the night, and the final field goal the Mocs would make.
Florida Southern went 10-for-14 from the free throw line in the final 63 seconds, but never quite put the game out of reach – or Brooks never let them. His 3-pointer with 57 seconds to play cut the gap to four, and he twice made 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds that brought the Sharks within three. After each of those, however, Rayfield made two free throws to again make it a two-possession game.
A bucket by Robert Huntington got the Sharks within 84-81 with 6.5 seconds to play, but Brandon Jenkins made one-of-two foul shots after that, and Terry Jenkins intercepted a long pass down the court to end the game.
Both of the Jenkins brothers scored 18 points, with Brandon going 5-for-10 from the floor and also picking up seven rebounds. Terry was 4-for-7 from the floor and 9-for-9 from the line, and added four rebounds and three steals.
Rayfield scored 13 points, while going 10-for-12 from the free throw line, and handed out seven assists. Wooten finished with 12 points, and made three of his four attempts from 3-point range. Bailey also scored in double figures with 10 points, going 4-for-5 from the field.
The Moccasins shot just 34 percent in the first half, yet still led 37-32 at halftime. They turned it around in the second half by shooting 57 percent, but Nova countered by shooting 56 percent and making 8-of-11 attempts from behind the arc. Brooks did most of the damage for Nova in the second half, when he scored 22 of his 25 points and was 6-for-6 from downtown.
The Sharks also got 19 points from Alex Gynes, 12 points from Lukas Roesch, and 10 points from Huntington. Gynes scored 11 straight points for Nova to help break a 50-50 tie with 12:30 remaining, but he was later trumped by the combo scoring of Jenkins and Wooten.
Florida Southern will take a break from conference play in its next game when it hosts Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.