WEST PALM BEACH, FL - Jonathan Lawton became the 43rd player in school history to score 1,000 career points, but it was a dominant second-half effort from Brett Hanson that helped Florida Southern College men's basketball rally from a six-point halftime deficit to knock off Palm Beach Atlantic, 86-72, in Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday at Rubin Arena. The No. 22 Moccasins (11-3, 4-2 SSC) outscored the Sailfish (5-9, 1-5) by 20 points in the second half en route to their second-straight victory.
Hanson poured in 21 of his game-high 26 points over the final 20 minutes, while Jonathan Lawton (22) and Ben Marello (18) also finished in double figures. The Mocs shot 55.2 percent (16-of-29) in the second half while limiting Palm Beach Atlantic to just 40.0 percent (10-of-25) to overcome a 45-39 PBA lead at halftime.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Southern looked as if it might be in for a long night as Palm Beach Atlantic struck first and built a 10-point lead (20-10) less than six minutes into the first half and led by as many as 12 points (30-18) when Malek Barber threw down a dunk with 10:00 on the clock. However, the Moccasins were able to piece together a 7-1 run to pull within six points (31-25) on a pair of Tyler Smith free throws at the 7:58 mark.
- The Sailfish scored the next five points to go back up by 11 (36-25) with just over seven minutes left in the half, but Southern would outscore PBA by a 14-9 tally over the remainder of the half to close the gap to six (45-39) at the break. Palm Beach Atlantic shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the floor, including 7-of-13 from long range, to stake itself to the halftime lead.
- PBA would stay in front until the 12:12 mark of the second half, when Marello drilled a three-pointer to cap off a 7-0 run that tied things at 58-58. E.J. Dambreville's layup on the next Moccasin possession gave Florida Southern a two-point lead, its first of the game, and the Sailfish never got back in front.
- Leading by just three points (63-60) with 10:42 left to play, Florida Southern slammed the door shut with a an 8-0 run that gave it a 71-60 lead and swung all the momentum in its favor. The Mocs never led by less than nine points the rest of the way and were in front by as many as 15 (85-70) in the final two minutes of action.
- Hanson's 26 points came on the strength of a 10-of-17 performance from the floor. He went 8-of-12 in the second half and also grabbed six rebounds. Lawton, who eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau during his career at Florida Southern, went 6-of-12 and finished with five boards, four steals, and three assists. Marello, who had 12 points in the second half, was 4-of-9 from the field and 9-of-12 at the charity stripe. Palm Beach Atlantic was led by Barber's team-best 14 points.
- As a team, the Moccasins knocked down 49.1 percent (27-of-55) of their shots and went 27-of-37 at the free-throw line. Florida Southern won the battle on the boards by a tally of 33-28 and scored 35 points off 21 Palm Beach Atlantic turnovers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 28-5 all-time against Palm Beach Atlantic, including a 11-5 record when facing the Sailfish on the road. The victory was the 249th of head coach Mike Donnelly's career. He is 249-203 in 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach, including a 53-51 mark in four years with the Moccasins.
- Lawton became the 43rd player in school history to record 1,000 career points at Florida Southern. His 1,000th point came on a jumper at the 8:42 mark of the first half. Lawton has recorded 1,013 points in 46 games with the Moccasins to move into 38th all-time. He has 1,576 in his career after scoring 563 in two seasons at St. Thoams Aquinas before transferring to FSC. He ranks 17th in career scoring and fourth in three-pointers made (252) among all active NCAA Division II players.
- Hanson pushed his career point total to 1,188 points to move into 18th place in program history. He needs just 229 more to move into the top 10 in school history. Just a junior, he is on pace to finish among the top five in career scoring in Florida Southern history.
- Florida Southern will travel to Barry on Saturday before returning home on Jan. 16 to take on Eckerd.