BOCA RATON, FL - Florida Southern College men's basketball used a barrage of first-half three-pointers to blow a close game wide open and grab its fifth-straight victory with an 88-76 triumph over Lynn in Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday night at the de Hoernle Center. The Moccasins (17-9, 11-7 SSC) knocked down 10 three-pointers in the first half to sink the Knights (13-11, 10-8) and remain in contention for one of the top four seeds in the upcoming SSC Tournament.
Brett Hanson (29), Slinky Jones (21), and Jonathan Lawton (21) led the Mocs in scoring, and Florida Southern put together the best free-throw shooting performance in program history (17-of-17) to grab its fifth win in a row. The Moccasins also remained in contention for a possible share of the SSC regular-season title.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern and Lynn treated fans to a great back-and-forth battle in the early stages of the first half. The Moccasins were able to create separation with a 7-0 run midway through the opening period to open up a 22-13 lead, but the Knights came right back to trim the deficit to just five (26-21) with 9:25 on the clock. On the ensuing Florida Southern possession, Lawton drilled a three-pointer to spark a 21-2 run over the next seven minutes to give the Mocs an insurmountable 47-23 lead with 2:32 on the clock.
• During the scoring run the Mocs held the Knights scoreless for more than four minutes (6:34-2:24), and took a 50-28 lead into the locker room at the half. Florida Southern shot 50.0 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes of action, including 10-of-19 from beyond the arc. Lawton (16), Hanson (15), and Jones (13) combined for 44 of the team's 50 first-half points, and shot a combined 14-of-24 (58.3 percent) in the first half.
• A mini scoring slump midway through the second half saw the Mocs' lead dwindle to 12 points (71-59) with 8:21 to go, but the early hole proved too much for the Knights to dig out of as the Mocs cruised to another victory.
• Hanson led all scorers with 29 points while adding seven rebounds and six assists. Lawton finished with four rebounds, two assists, and two steals in addition to his 21 points. Jones tallied three rebounds, one assist, one block, and a steal. The Mocs shot 44.6 percent (29-of-65) from the floor, including 13-of-30 from long range, and went a perfect 17-of-17 at the charity stripe. FSC's defense limited the Knights to just 39.1 percent shooting and forced 13 turnovers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 38-13 all-time against Lynn, including a 16-5 mark when facing the Knights on the road. The 17-for-17 performance at the free-throw line is the highest combination of free-throw percentage (100.0) and free-throw attempts (17) in the same game in program history. The previous best was a 16-of-16 performance at Southern Indiana on Nov. 29, 2008.
• The Moccasins five-game winning streak is the team's best in three years under head coach Mike Donnelly. Florida Southern is averaging 97.6 points per game during its win streak, while Jones has come alive on offensive and is averaging 17.8 points per game over the past five games. He averaged just 7.4 points per game in the previous 21 games.
• Jones has posted back-to-back 20-plus point performances, and has scored at least 20 in three of the last five games. Lawton's performance marked his 17th game of the year with at least 20 points, while Hanson scored 20 or more for the 15th time this year, including each of the last four games.
• Hanson has now scored 860 career points, and has a chance to hit 1,000 career points this year if the Mocs advance far enough into the postseason. He would be the 42nd player in program history with 1,000 career points.
• Florida Southern closes out its regular-season home slate against Tampa next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on Senior Night. The Moccasins are off this Saturday, and close the regular-season at Embry Riddle on Feb. 24.