LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College men's basketball was unable to overcome a hot-shooting Stonehill team and its own offensive woes as it suffered its first defeat of the year, 89-79, on Saturday evening at Streamline Sale Arena at Jenkins Field House. The No. 12 Moccasins (4-1) scored the opening bucket of the game but fell behind to the Skyhawks (4-3) on the next possession and led just once the remainder of the contest.
Stonehill shot 53.7 percent on the night, including 15-of-26 from long range, to hand the Mocs their first regular-season home loss since January. Brett Hanson (23 points) and Slinky Jones (20) led Florida Southern in scoring, but the Moccasins connected on just 39.1 percent from the floor and hit only 5-of-19 three-point attempts in defeat. The Mocs will open Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday when they host Tampa at 7:30 p.m.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Jones got the Moccasins on the board first when he grabbed an offensive board off his own missed jumper and nailed a layup to give Southern an early lead. It would be short-lived, however, as the Skyhawks responded with a three-pointer just seconds later in what would become a familiar sight. Jonathan Lawton's three-pointer at the 18:17 mark of the first half to give FSC the lead again, but briefly as Stonehill drilled another three on the next possession to go up 6-5 and would never trail again.
- Stonehill was lights-out from long range early in the contest as seven of its first eight buckets came from beyond the arc to help the Skyhawks build a 20-11 lead in the first five minutes of action. Florida Southern trailed by as many as 14 points (33-19) in the first half, but the Mocs battled back to pull within three (37-34) when Jones connected from long range with 1:56 to go in the half. The Skyhawks were able to score four more before the break to make it 41-36 at halftime
- The hot-shooting of Stonehill spilled over into the second half as it drilled another three to start things off an led by as many as 19 points (61-42) with just over 13 minutes left to play. Despite forcing several turnovers in the closing minutes and converting those into points, the Moccasins were never really able to get back into the contest as the Skyhawks came away with the upset.
- Florida Southern struggled all night to find its form on offense as it failed to shoot better than above 40.0 percent in either half. Hanson went 9-of-18 from the floor and added six rebounds and three steals to his stat line. Jones went 8-of-14, grabbed nine boards, and tallied five steals. Stonehill was paced by Will Moreton (25 points) and Dan Largey (24), who went a combined 9-of-15 from three-point range. The Mocs were outrebounded 42-33 and outscored the Skyhawks 31-11 in points off turnovers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 0-1 all-time against Stonehill. The loss was FSC's first regular-season home defeat since a 117-111 double-overtime loss to Rollins on Jan. 13, 2018.
- Hanson pushed his career scoring total to 1,044 points to 35th place in school history in scoring. He has a chance to shoot way up the career scoring list this year as just 373 points separate Hanson from the top 10 in FSC history.
- Jonathan Lawton upped his career point total to 796 in a Florida Southern uniform. He has recorded 1,359 points in his career after tallying 563 in two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas before transferring to FSC.
- Prior to the game, a special ceremony was held to recognize Harold "Streamline" Sale for his place in Moccasin history. He was an ardent supporter of Florida Southern basketball and a founding member of the 6th Man Club. The ceremony included the official dedication of Streamline Sale Arena and was attended by several members of the Sale family, including Boston Red Sox ace and 2018 World Series champion Chris Sale, who attended Lakeland High School.
- Florida Southern opens SSC action at home against Tampa on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the third of seven-straight home games. The Mocs will also face conference rival Embry-Riddle at home on Dec. 5 before stepping back into non-conference action.