Balanced Attack Leads Mocs Past Lions

Balanced Attack Leads Mocs Past Lions

LAKELAND, FL - Brett Hanson and Jonathan Lawton each scored 21 points, and five different players scored in double figures as Florida Southern College men's basketball used a balanced offensive attack to come away with a 94-85 win over Emmanuel on Monday at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (7-4) picked up their third-straight win and eclipsed 90 points for the fourth game in a row in their first-ever meeting against the Lions (7-5).

Florida Southern caps off the Mocs' Christmas Classic tomorrow when it faces Dominican at 7:30 p.m. in the final game before the holiday break. The Moccasins are looking for their fourth-straight win for the first time in two years.

Florida Southern used a deadly offensive attack to jump out to an early lead and stayed in control nearly the entire way. The Moccasins shot 51.6 percent (33-of-64) from the floor, their third-best shooting percentage of the season and their third-straight contest with a field-goal percentage better than 50.0 percent. Tyler Ross scored on the game's opening possession before Emmanuel scored four-straight to take its only lead of the contest (4-2) with 18:44 to go in the first half.
The lead would not last long as the Mocs used a 7-0 run to open up a five-point lead (9-4) and would never trail again. Florida Southern took its first double-digit lead of the game (26-16) when Hanson connected on a layup with 10:36 to go in the opening period, and led by as many as 12 points before the Lions got back into the mix but slicing the deficit to one (40-39) with just over a minute to go. However, the Moccasins scored the final seven points of the half to take a 47-39 lead into the locker room.
Emmanuel was able to stay in the contest by closing the gap to four points on several occasions in the first five minutes of the second half, but the Mocs would hold their lead and turn back the Lions' best punches. Florida Southern led by 12 points (63-51) with 12:19 left to play, but the Lions reeled off a 10-1 run to get within one possession (64-61) with just over 10 minutes to go. However, the scoring run was Emmanuel's last chance to stick with the Moccasins, who outscored the Lions 26-12 over the next six minutes to open up their largest lead of the game (90-73) and cruised to the finish line.
Hanson (8-of-12) and Lawton (6-of-12) combined to shoot 58.3 percent from the floor and went a combined 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) from the charity stripe. Ross finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Slinky Jones had 15 points and Trey Diggs added 12 off the bench. Jones also finished with four blocks, while Hanson grabbed eight rebounds and recorded two blocks of his own. The Mocs outrebounded the Lions 43-34.

Monday's game was the first-ever meeting between Florida Southern and Emmanuel. The Lions are in the transition process from NAIA to NCAA Division II.  Florida Southern improved to a perfect 6-0 at home this season and moved to 5-1 in non-conference games this year.
The Moccasins have scored 90 or more points in each of their last four games. The last time Florida Southern scored at least 90 points in four-straight games came during the 2014-15 season when the Mocs hit 90 points in seven-straight games. Florida Southern went on to win the NCAA Division II National Championship that year.
Florida Southern has shot 50.0 percent or better from the floor in each of its last three games. The last time the Moccasins hit 50.0 percent in three-straight games came during the 2012-13 campaign. Over the past three contests, all wins, the Mocs are shooting 52.8 percent (115-of-218) from the floor.
Lawton finished with 20 points for the eighth time this season, including four of the last five games. Hanson eclipsed 20 points for the third time this season. Over the past three games, five different players are averaging double-digit scoring totals and Hanson is shooting 66.7 percent (22-of-33) from the floor.

Florida Southern squares off against Dominican at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. After tomorrow's contest, the Moccasins are off until Dec. 30, when they take on No. 25 Southern New Hampshire in their final non-conference game of the year.