LAKELAND, FL - Slinky Jones put together his best offensive performance of the season, and five different players scored in double figures as Florida Southern College men's basketball picked up a huge overtime victory with a 100-96 win over Eckerd on Wednesday at Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (13-9, 7-7 SSC) overcame a slow start and fought off an impressive late comeback by the Tritons (16-5, 9-5) to earn a hard-fought win.
After seeing a late double-digit lead slip away in the closing moments of regulation, the Mocs responded with clutch free-throw shooting in overtime to pull even in Sunshine State Conference play and set up a crucial showdown with Barry on Saturday. Jones finished with a season-high 20 points, while Jonathan Lawton poured in 33 and Ben Marello (14), Brett Hanson (13) and Tyler Ross (10) also scored in double figures.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Florida Southern got off to a slow start as Eckerd raced out to a double-digit lead (13-3) in the first four minutes of the opening half. However, the Mocs responded with a 10-3 run to cut the deficit to just three (16-13) with 13:10 on the clock. Marello and Ross combined for eight points during the run to help FSC climb back into contention.
• The Tritons were able to stay in front and eventually went in front by 10 points (30-20) with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half. Florida Southern came all the way back to grab a 36-35 lead on Hanson's jumper with 3:09 on the clock, and went into the locker room down by two (40-38).
• The Moccasins dominated the early part of the second half by using a 21-4 run to take a 15-point lead (59-44) with 13:55 left to play. The scoring run started when Lawton drilled a three-pointer and was highlighted by a thunderous dunk and a three-pointer from Jones.
• Florida Southern appeared to have the game well in hand as it led by double digits until late in the second half when the Tritons pulled within eight (77-69) with just 3:07 on the clock. The Mocs pushed the lead back to double-digits (79-69) with 2:22 to go and led by 10 (86-76) with less than a minute to go, but Eckerd made a miraculous comeback that was punctuated by three free-throws after Keshawn Ingram was fouled on a last-second three-pointer. Ingram made all three attempts to tie things up at 88-88 and send the game to overtime.
• The teams would trade the lead twice in the early going of the extra period, but the pivotal moment came when Hanson grabbed a defensive rebound off Ingram's missed jumper and ran the length of the floor to put in the go-ahead layup to make it 94-92 with 2:38 left to play. Although Eckerd was able to keep things close, the Mocs came up big by hitting all six of their free-throw attempts in the final two minutes to come up with the win.
• Jones 20 points came on a 6-of-12 effort from the floor and a 6-of-6 showing at the charity stripe. He also had six rebounds, three blocks, one assist, and a steal. Lawton finished 7-of-14 from the floor and 14-of-18 at the free-throw line. Hanson led the Mocs with eight rebounds, and Lawton dished out a team-best six assists.
• The Moccasins shot 52.4 percent (33-of-63) from the floor, including 9-of-29 from long range, and made 25-of-30 free-throw attempts. Eckerd connected on 41.9 percent (31-of-74) of its shots and went 26-of-31 on free-throw attempts.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 70-38 all-time against Eckerd, including 39-13 when facing the Tritons at Jenkins Field House. The Mocs improved to 10-3 at home this season.
• Lawton surpassed 1,000 career points in Wednesday's win. He has scored 457 points this season after tallying 563 in his first two collegiate seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas to push his career total to 1,020.
• The Moccasins scored 100 or more points for the sixth time this season. Florida Southern is 4-2 when scoring 100 or more points this year.
• History was made at Jenkins Field House on Wednesday night as the women's basketball game also went to overtime, marking the first time in Florida Southern history that both basketball programs played overtime games on the same day.
• Florida Southern plays host to Barry on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. before heading to Rollins on Feb. 7.