LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College men's basketball will look for a strong start as it tips off the 2017-18 campaign at this weekend's GSC/SSC Classic when it faces West Alabama and Delta State. The Moccasins kick things off against West Alabama at 6 p.m. on Friday, and cap off the weekend against tournament host Delta State at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
The Moccasins return nine players from last year's team and added six new players in the offseason. A total of three transfers joined Mike Donnelly's squad (Jonathan Lawton, Ja'Kwan "Slinky" Jones and Ben Marello) and Donnelly brought in three more high school standouts.
GSC/SSC CLASSIC at DELTA STATE
DATE: Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 | 6 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Walter Sillers Coliseum (Cleveland, MS)
LIVE VIDEO: GoStatesmen.com ($8 fee)
LIVE STATS: GoStatesmen.com | StatBroadcast
SERIES RECORD: Series tied, 2-2
NEXT UP: at Delta State | Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. ET
• Florida Southern enters its third year under head coach Mike Donnelly, and brings back nine players from last year's squad. The Moccasins added six new players in the offseason, including a trio of transfers.
• The Mocs open the 2017-18 season at the annual GSC/SSC Challenge, where it will face West Alabama (Nov. 10) and Delta State (Nov. 11).
• FSC has faced Delta State and West Alabama in the GSC/SSC Challenge in each of the last three seasons, going a combined 2-4 in the games. The Moccasins also faced Delta State in the 2013 GSC/SSC Challenge.
• The Mocs are 63-26 (.707) all-time in season openers. Florida Southern is 6-4 in its last 10 season-opening games, and has faced either Delta State (2013-14, 2016-17) or West Alabama (2015-16, 2017-18) in the season opener for four-straight years.
• If history is any indicator, year three under Mike Donnelly should be a big step forward. During the history of the FSC men's basketball program, 10 different coaches have coached at least three years. In the third year of their stint at Florida Southern, those 10 coaches went a combined 184-88 (.676) and averaged 18 wins in their third year.
• The past five coaches to coach at FSC for at least three seasons won 22 games or more in their third season, with Hal Wissel posting the best record in a coach's third season when his 1979-80 squad went 28-5.