LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College men's basketball shot a season-best 57.7 percent to overcome a slow start in a 99-77 blowout of visiting Nova Southeastern in Sunshine State Conference action on Saturday at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (11-8, 5-6 SSC) finished with five players in double-figured and outscored the Sharks (12-5, 6-5) 36-21 in bench points to grab their second-straight win.
Brett Hanson led the way with a game-high 24 points, while Jonathan Lawton poured in 16 and Ben Marello added 11. Trey Diggs (15 points) and Tyler Smith (11) combined for 26 points off the bench, while Diggs connected on five three-pointers to help the Mocs overcome an early 7-0 hole.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern looked as if it might be in early trouble as Nova Southeastern raced out to a 7-0 lead and forced the Mocs to called a timeout less than four minutes into the game. After the break, the Mocs actually fell further behind (11-3) with 15:42 to go in the first half. However, the Mocs were able to reel off 14 of the next 19 points to grab their first lead of the game (17-16) when Lawton drilled a three with 12:04 on the clock.
• The Mocs would never trail again and grabbed their first double-digit lead of the ballgame (37-25) when Hanson connected from long range with just under six minutes to go in the first half. Florida Southern would never see its lead dip below 10 points as it took a 47-33 lead into the locker room.
• Nova Southeastern was able to trim the deficit to single digits (56-47) in the first five minutes of the second half, but an 11-0 run that was fueled by three Diggs' three-pointers put the Mocs in total control as they cruised to their second-straight victory.
• Hanson finished 11-of-17 from the floor, dished out nine assists, grabbed six rebounds, and tallied four steals. Lawton also fille the stat sheet with a 5-of-10 performance from the floor while grabbing seven rebounds and tallying six assists. Marello hit 5-of-7 shot attempts while Diggs hit 5-of-10, all from beyond the arc, and Smith went 5-of-7. Diggs and Hanson each scored 15 points in the second half.
• The Mocs hit 41-of-71 shot attempts including 12-of-28 from long range and dished out 23 assists. Florida Southern grabbed 41 rebounds to NSU's 36 and outscored the Sharks 46-36 in the paint and 21-4 on the fast break.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 29-7 all-time against Nova Southeastern, including 19-2 when facing the Sharks at home. The Moccasins have won 11 times in just 19 games, matching last year's win total of 11 in 29 games.
• Hanson scored in double figures for the 17th-straight game, while Lawton finished with at least 10 points for the 18th time this year. Hanson has scored at least 20 points in nine games this season, including three-straight and seven of the last nine.
• Lawton increased his career point total to 960 and needs just 40 more to hit 1,000 for his career. He has scored 387 for the Moccasins this season after tallying 563 in two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas before transferring to Florida Southern. He has scored in double figures in 18 games this season, has scored over 20 points 12 times, and gone over 30 points twice this year.
• Florida Southern plays host to Saint Leo on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. before heading to Palm Beach Atlantic on Jan. 27. The Mocs close out the month of January at home against Eckerd on Jan. 31.