LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College men's basketball earned its fourth win over a ranked opponent this season with a thrilling 109-100 overtime victory over No. 25 Barry in Sunshine State Conference action on Saturday and Jenkins Field House. The Moccasins (14-9, 8-7 SSC) saw a late double-digit lead slip away in regulation but outscored the Bucs (13-6, 9-5) 18-9 in overtime to grab a crucial conference victory.
Barry was able to rally back from an 87-77 deficit with three minutes to go in regulation as Elvar Fridriksson hit a jumper at the buzzer to send the game to an extra period, but Brett Hanson drilled a three early in overtime to set the tone and closed out the game with a breakaway dunk to put an exclamation point on a signature win for the Moccasins. Jonathan Lawton led all players with 31 points, while Hanson added 24. Slinky Jones and Ben Marello each added 16, and Trey Diggs had 14 off the bench.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Both teams played neck-and-neck for nearly the entire game as neither was able to gain a clear advantage. The Mocs led 15-11 in the first five minutes of play, but the Bucs quickly rallied to tie things up at 19-19 and led by five (29-24) midway through the first half. Florida Southern was able to regain the lead several times in the final 10 minutes of the opening period, but Barry took a 42-39 lead into the locker room at the half.
• The Moccasins looked as if they might be in trouble early in the second half as Barry built an eight-point lead (51-43) just over two minutes into the period. However, Florida Southern was able to close the gap to just one (57-56) with a 14-5 run over the next three-plus minutes of action. Lawton's three-pointer at the 11:50 mark gave the Mocs a 61-59 lead and both teams raced to the finish.
• Florida Southern was able to find breathing room late in the second half by building an 87-77 lead with 3:14 to go, but series of turnovers allowed Barry to get back into the mix as the Bucs trailed by just two (89-87) with 1:56 left to play. The Mocs then turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound pass after a Fridriksson layup, and the Bucs point guard swiped the inbound attempt and tied things up with another layup just seconds later.
• Diggs gave the Mocs a 91-89 lead with just 11 seconds to go when he drove to the bucket to hit what looked like the game-winning layup, but the Bucs came back down the floor and Fridriksson nailed a jumper just before the buzzer to send the game to OT.
• Hanson opened the overtime scoring with a three-pointer, and the Bucs were never able to recover as Lawton hit key free throws and Hanson and Jones threw down thunderous dunks to cap off one of the most thrilling wins of the season.
• Lawton hit four three-pointers in the game and went 13-of-16 at the free throw line. He also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out five assists, and tallied three steals. Hanson also had eight rebounds and added three assists, while Jones tallied four blocks and seven boards. Florida Southern shot 52.9 percent (37-of-70) from the floor and made 11 three-pointers while connecting on 24-of-31 at the charity stripe. Barry shot 45.9 percent (39-of-85) but made just 10-of-34 three-point attempts.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Florida Southern improved to 49-22 all-time against Barry, including 29-6 when facing the Bucs at Jenkins Field House. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak in the series against Barry and moved FSC to 11-3 at home this season.
• The Moccasins are now 4-1 against ranked opponents this year. Florida Southern has defeated No. 25 Delta State, No. 13 Le Moyne, No. 19 Southern New Hampshire, and No. 25 Barry. Saturday's performance marked the seventh time this year that the Mocs have scored at least 100 points. It was also the sixth overtime game of the year.
• Lawton scored 30 or more points for the second-straight game and the fourth time overall this season. He also hit double-digit free throws for the sixth time this year, and ranks among the top five nationally in free-throw attempts (183) and makes (154). Jones had at least four blocks for the fifth time this season and ranks first in the SSC in total blocks (42).
• Saturday's game marked the seventh time this season and the fourth time in the last six games that the Moccasins have shot at least 50.0 percent from the floor. FSC has also hit at least 77.0 percent of its free throw attempts in each of the last four games.
• Florida Southern travels to Rollins on Wednesday for a crucial conference matchup. The Tars are tied with Eckerd atop the SSC standings after falling to Tampa on Saturday. The Mocs return home on Feb. 10 to face Florida Tech.