LAKELAND, FL - A slow start to the second half proved too much to overcome as Florida Southern College men's basketball came up short in its attempt at a rally in an 81-76 loss to visiting Dominican (NY) on Tuesday night at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (7-5) led by four points at the half, but the Chargers (8-3) held the Mocs to just 41.7 percent from the floor in the second half to come away with the win.
The key stretch came at the beginning of the second period when Florida Southern failed to score for nearly three minutes to open the half. Dominican capitalized with an 8-0 run to open the half to regain momentum and the lead. Down by 10 with just over a minute to play, the Moccasins were able to cut the deficit to two points (78-76) in the closing seconds, but could not come finish off the comeback.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern raced out of the gate, grabbing a 14-5 lead in the first four minutes of action. Tyler Ross connected on a pair of early three-pointers and scored eight of the Moccasins' first 14 points. However, the Mocs would hit a wall with after Ross nailed a layup with 16:02 to go in the first half. Florida Southern would fail to score for the next four minutes as Dominican scored the next eight points to slice the deficit to one (14-13).
• The Mocs were able to stay in front despite the cold stretch and, leading by just one (18-17) with 10 minutes on the clock, would reel off a 10-0 run to open the lead to 28-17 with 7:52 left to go in the half. Brett Hanson scored seven of his game-high 21 points during the scoring run.
• Dominican responded with a 7-0 run of its own to pull within four (28-24) at the 4:33 mark of the first half. Jack Rauch put Florida Southern up by seven (36-29) with just 33 seconds to go, but Michael Richardson nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to pull the Chargers within four (36-32) at the break.
• The Moccasins started the second half cold, failing to score in the first three minutes as Dominican was able to get in front (40-36) with 17:33 to play. The Chargers would stay in front until midway through the period when the Mocs used a 10-0 run to turn a 54-45 deficit into a 55-54 lead. However, Dominican nailed a three-pointer with 7:55 on the clock to take back the lead.
• Florida Southern got back in front by a single point (60-59) with just under six minutes to go, but again the Chargers rallied back to regain the lead on the next possession and never trailed again. The Moccasins made one last run at the lead in the final minute of play, but could not get a key stop down the stretch.
• Hanson's 21 points came on a 6-of-12 effort from the floor. He also added 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season and went 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. Ross finished with 15 points, while Jonathan Lawton poured in 14 points and dished out five assists. The Moccasins shot 38.6 percent (22-of-57) from the floor and hit just 22-of-32 free throws, while the Chargers connected on 44.8 percent (26-of-58) of their shots and hit 23-of-30 at the charity stripe. Dominican finished with a 43-36 edge in rebounds and outscored the Mocs 32-16 in the paint.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern's loss was its first home defeat of the season as the Mocs dropped to 6-1 at Jenkins Field House this year. Tuesday's meeting between the Moccasins and Chargers was just the second all-time. The series is now tied at 1-1.
• Hanson scored at least 20 points for the fourth time this season. Tuesday also marked his first back-to-back 20-point performances of the year. Lawton has scored in double digits in 11 of his first 12 games as a Moccasin.
• Florida Southern is off until Dec. 30, when it hosts No. 25 Southern New Hampshire at 4 p.m. in the final non-conference game of the year. The Moccasins head back into Sunshine State Conference action on Jan. 3 at Florida Tech and return home on Jan. 6 to take on Lynn.