LAKELAND, FL - Jack Rauch put together his best offensive performance of the year and five players scored in double figures as Florida Southern College men's basketball topped visiting Saint Leo, 89-81, in Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (12-8, 6-6 SSC) had three players score 20 or more points to grab their third-straight win, while the Lions (9-14, 5-7) fell for the sixth time in their last seven outings.
Rauch finished with 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season, while Brett Hanson poured in a game-high 23 points and Jonathan Lawton added 20 of his own. Ben Marello (13) and Slinky Jones (11) also finished in double figures. The Mocs will head to Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday before returning home for a two-game homestand.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern got off to a fast start as Hanson drilled a three on the game's opening possession as the Mocs led for the majority of the first five minute of action. Saint Leo was able to jump in front by three (14-11) with 14:19 on the clock and the teams would trade jabs until the Lions went on an 8-4 run to jump out to its biggest lead of the game (29-22) with 7:59 to go in the first half.
• Hanson was able to pull the Mocs within one (31-30) at the 6:08 mark when he scored eight-straight points for Florida Southern. Saint Leo stayed in front until the 3:23 mark of the first half, when Jones hit a jumper to give the Moccasins a 36-35 lead. Both teams took leads multiple times in the closing moments of the first half, and Florida Southern took a 43-41 lead into the locker room at the break.
• The Mocs got off to another hot start in the second half, using a 10-2 run over the first three and a half minutes of play to take their first double-digit lead of the game (54-43) on a Jones dunk with 16:38 on the clock. The Lions battled back to cut the deficit to three (54-51) just over a minute later and trailed by just one (62-61) with 10:23 to go, but Florida Southern stayed in front and scored six-straight points to gain some cushion (68-61) with 9:38 to play.
• Saint Leo again trimmed the deficit to just three points (70-67) with just over eight minutes to go, but the Mocs went on a 13-2 run to take a commanding 83-69 lead with 3:48 to play and closed things out for their ninth home win of the season.
• Hanson finished the night 9-of-18 from the floor and scored 17 points in the first half. He also grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists, and came up with two steals. Rauch's 20 points came on a 6-of-9 effort, including 6-of-7 at the charity stripe. Jones went 5-of-8 and grabbed six boards to go along with four blocks. Florida Southern shot 47.1 percent from the floor while Saint Leo hit 49.2 percent of its shots. The Mocs finished with a 35-33 edge in rebounds.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 89-21 all-time against Saint Leo, including a 51-8 mark when facing the Lions at home. The Moccasins are 9-3 at home this season and have won two-straight home games.
• Lawton's 20 points pushed his career total to 970, putting him just 30 shy of 1,000 for his career. He has scored 407 points for the Moccasins this season after scoring 563 in two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas before transferring to Florida Southern. He has scored 20 or more points in 13 games this year.
• Hanson has scored in double figures in 18 games this season and gone over the 20-point mark in each of the last four games. Marello scored in double-digits for the seventh time this year, including each of the last four games.
• Florida Southern heads to Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday before returning home for two-straight games. The Mocs face Eckerd on Jan. 31 and Barry on Feb. 3 at Jenkins Field House.