LAKELAND, FL - Brett Hanson scored a career-high 30 points and became the 42nd player in school history with 1,000 in his career as Florida Southern College men's basketball stayed perfect on the season with a 90-84 victory over Merrimack on Friday at Jenkins Field House. The No. 12 Moccasins (4-0) overcame an early eight-point deficit to defeat the Warriors (3-3) to win their 10th-straight regular-season home game.
Hanson, who scored his 1,000th point on a free throw at the 12:41 mark of the first half, scored 17 points in the opening half and recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds to lead the Mocs in both categories. Jonathan Lawton (17), Slinky Jones (15), and Ben Marello (14) also scored in double figures as Florida Southern scored better than 40 points in each half. The Moccasins will wrap up the weekend tomorrow night against Stonehill at 7:30 p.m. at Jenkins Field House.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Southern got off to a slow start as Merrimack held the Mocs scoreless through the first two and a half minutes of action to build a 7-0 lead. Jones scored Southern's first points with a jumper at the 17:32 mark, but the Warriors were able to extend their lead to eight points (12-4) less than a minute later. The Moccasins were able to find their rhythm by mounting a 9-0 run over the next two minutes to take a 13-12 lead with 15:01 on the clock.
- Merrimack scored the next six points to jump back in front by five (18-13) and led by as many as seven points (26-19) with less than 10 minutes to go in the opening half. Florida Southern was able to chip away at the deficit and took a 29-28 advantage on a pair of free throws by Marello at the 5:08 mark. After the Warriors scored to take a 30-29 lead, the Moccasins ripped off a game-changing 14-1 run over the final five minutes of the half to take a 12-point lead (43-31) into the locker room at the half. Marello scored six of his 14 points during the run, which only ended when the Warriors hit a free throw in the final three seconds.
- Despite enjoying a double-digit lead to start the second half, the Moccasin offense cooled off over the first five minutes of the period as the Warriors were able to slice the deficit to just two points (47-45) with the 15:03 mark. After Florida Southern went up by six (51-45) on Jones' free throws nearly a minute later, Merrimack responded with two quick three-pointers to tie thing at 51-51 with 13:38 to play.
- The Mocs were able to gain some breathing room by using a 16-5 run to take a 67-56 lead with just over nine minutes to play and would never lose the lead despite the Warriors getting with four (73-69) in the final five minutes. Lawton would hit a clutch three-pointer to put the Mocs up by nine (85-76) in the final two minutes, and Southern hit several key free throws down the stretch to pull out the win.
- Hanson's 30 points came on a 12-of-21 effort from the floor, including 6-of-7 at the charity stripe. Seven of his team-high 10 rebounds came on the defensive end, and Hanson also dished out five assists, tallied three steals, and recorded a block. All five of Florida Southern's starters (Hanson, Lawton, Marello, Jones, Jack Rauch) had at least five rebounds, while four of the five had four assists. Marello had a team-high six assists as the Moccasins recorded 22 assists on 29 made buckets.
- As a team, Florida Southern shot 50.9 percent (29-of-57) from the floor, including 7-of-12 from long range, and outrebounded the Warriors 37-30. The Mocs tallied five blocks in the contest, led by Rauch's team-best two.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 5-0 all-time against Merrimack. Friday's meeting was the first between the teams since Dec. 30, 1999. All five meetings in the all-time series have come at Jenkins Field House.
- Hanson ended the night with 1,021 career points, placing him 38th in school history in scoring. Lawton has now scored 786 points in a Florida Southern uniform, he has 1,349 career points. He scored 563 points in two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas before transferring to Florida Southern.
- Moccasin head coach Mike Donnelly picked up his 241st career coaching victory, 46 of which have come at the helm of the FSC men's basketball program.
- Florida Southern will take on Stonehill at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday to cap off the weekend. The Moccasins open Sunshine State Conference action on Nov. 28 at home against Tampa in the third of seven-straight home games before Christmas.