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Men's Hoops Ranked No. 23 by DII Bulletin

Men's Hoops Ranked No. 23 by DII Bulletin

LAKELAND, FL - After finishing 21-11 a year ago and upsetting top-seeded Morehouse in the first round of the NCAA Division II South Regional, Florida Southern College has been tabbed as the No. 23 team in the nation, according to the DII Bulletin Preseason Poll released this week. The Moccasins, who finished third in the Sunshine State Conference a year ago despite being selected ninth in the SSC Preseason Coaches Poll, return all five starters from last year's squad.

Among the key returners are all-SSC performers Jonathan Lawton and Brett Hanson. Lawton also earned all-district honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches last season and ranked 17th nationally in scoring (22.2 ppg) as a junior. Slinky Jones, Ben Marello, and Jack Rauch round out the remainder of the starting five for fourth-year head coach Mike Donnelly.

The Mocs finished last season as one of the hottest teams in the nation, winning 10 of their final 11 regular-season games before topping Lynn to advance to the SSC Tournament semifinals. Florida Southern then pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of last year's NCAA Division II Tournament by overcoming a 21-point second-half deficit to take down No. 1 seeded Morehouse in overtime (98-97).

The Moccasins will play Florida in an exhibition contest on Oct. 30 in Gainesville and open the regular season by hosting the GSC/SSC Classic with games against West Alabama (Nov. 9) and Delta State (Nov. 10). In all, the Mocs play 17 games at Jenkins Field House, where they finished 14-3 a year ago.

Division II Bulletin
Preseason Poll
1.
Bellarmine
29-3
2.
Northwest Missouri St.
27-4
3.
West Texas A&M
32-4
4.
Lincoln Memorial
32-2
5.
Saint Anselm
22-9
6.
West Liberty
26-4
7.
Western Washington
21-8
8.
Nova Southeastern
17-10
9.
West Florida
26-5
10.
East Stroudsburg
27-6
11.
Queens (N.C.)
32-4
12.
Morehouse
25-3
13.
Indiana (Pa.)
22-8
14.
Southwest Minn. St.
25-9
15.
Ferris State
38-1
16.
Cal Poly Pomona
23-7
17.
Southern Nazarene
27-3
18.
Regis
27-6
19.
Findlay
28-5
20.
Clayton State
24-7
21.
Valdosta State
26-5
22.
Daemen
22-8
23.
Florida Southern
21-11
24.
UNC Pembroke
27-6
25.
UC San Diego
21-11