TAMPA, FL - Florida Southern College men's basketball used a barrage of three-pointers to shoot past Tampa, 107-94, in Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday evening at the Bob Martinez Center. The Moccasins (10-8, 4-6 SSC) shot a season-high 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from beyond the arc and had three players score at least 20 points to move a game ahead of the Spartans (7-9, 3-7) in the conference standings.
Jonathan Lawton led the Mocs with 31 points, while Trey Diggs had 25 and Brett Hanson finished with 21 as Florida Southern overcame a nine-point deficit in the first half to snap a three-game losing streak. Florida Southern returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Nova Southeastern at 7:30 p.m. at Jenkins Field House.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• After scoring the first bucket of the game on Lawton's layup with 18:53 to go in the first half, the Moccasins quickly fell behind and trailed for nearly the entire opening period before rallying back to take a 51-46 lead at the half.
• Trailing by nine points (26-17) with 8:51 to go in the first, Florida Southern reeled off a 15-6 run to tie things up at 32-32 on Lawton's three-pointer at the 5:32 mark. Tampa was able to steady itself and held a four-point lead (38-34) with 4:22 to go, but the Mocs responded with four-straight three-pointers to grab a 46-42 lead and seize all the momentum with 2:16 left in the first.
• In the second half, the Spartans mounted a rally with a 20-7 run over the opening six minutes to jump back in front by eight (66-58) and put Florida Southern on the ropes. However, the Mocs responded to take a 70-68 lead on Lawton's three-pointer with 11:37 to play and would never trail again. The bucket sparked a 13-0 run that gave the Moccasins a comfortable 12 -point lead (80-68), and Tampa did not get within single digits the rest of the way.
• Lawton's 31 points came on a 9-of-15 effort from the floor. He finished 6-of-10 from beyond the arc and was a perfect 7-of-7 at the free-throw line. Diggs scored 25 points in just 23 minutes off the bench as he also finished 9-of-15 and 6-of-10 from long range. Hanson's 21 points came on a 5-of-9 final from the floor and he went 11-of-12 at the charity stripe. Ben Marello added 14 points and Slinky Jones tallied four steals.
• Florida Southern shot 52.9 percent (37-of-70) from the floor and made 21-of-30 free-throw attempts. The Mocs outrebounded the Spartans by one (29-28) and dished out 16 assists. Hanson led the Moccasins with six assists, while Diggs snagged a game-high eight rebounds.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 91-54 all-time against Tampa, including a 34-28 record when facing the Spartans on the road. The win snapped a two-game losing streak in the series against Tampa.
• Lawton increased his career point total to 944 and needs just 56 more to hit 1,000 for his career. He has scored 371 for the Moccasins this season after tallying 563 in two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas before transferring to Florida Southern. He has scored in double figures in 17 games this season, has scored over 20 points 12 times, and gone over 30 points twice this year.
• Florida Southern will host Nova Southeastern at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday before taking on Saint Leo at home on Jan. 24.