MELBOURNE, FL - An uncharacteristically poor offense performance proved too much to overcome as Florida Southern College men's basketball dropped a Sunshine State Conference road contest at Florida Tech, 77-59, on Wednesday evening at the Clemente Center. The No. 7 Moccasins (9-3, 2-2 SSC) shot a season-low 33.3 percent (22-of-66) from the floor as the Panthers (7-5, 1-4) to snap a two-game losing streak.
Florida Tech was able to connect on 48.1 percent (13-of-27) in the first half en route to a 39-25 halftime lead, and the Mocs were unable to get within less than eight points in the second half as they fell for the second-straight game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Southern got off to a slow start as it mustered just 15 points in the opening 11 minutes of action as they fell behind by 11 points (26-15) with 8:51 left to go in the first half. The Panthers' lead swelled to as many as 18 points (39-21) in the final two minutes as Florida Tech took a 39-25 lead into the locker room. The tide turned in the first half when Florida Tech snapped an 8-8 tie with 15:39 in the first with a 6-0 run that gave it a 14-8 lead and swung momentum in its favor.
- The Moccasins came out strong in the second half with a 6-0 run of their own in the opening two minutes to slice the deficit to eight (39-31), but it would be all the closer they would get as the Panthers use a 9-0 run midway through the second half to go up by 21 points (57-36) with 10:25 to play. Florida Tech led by as many as 22 points twice in the final 10 minutes en route to snap a four-game losing streak to Florida Southern.
- Jonathan Lawton led the Mocs with 13 points while Kai Cleary and Tyler Smith each had 11. Jack Rauch tallied a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Florida Tech was led by a pair of 20-point scorers in Antonis Pefanis (21) and Derek Murphy (20).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 66-25 all-time against Florida Tech, including a 25-14 record when facing the Panthers in Melbourne. The victory marked the first time since the 2015-16 season that Florida Tech has defeated Florida Southern.
- Hanson pushed his career scoring total to 1,141 points. He now ranks 23rd in school history in career scoring. Just 276 points separate Hanson from the top 10 scorers in school history. He needs three more to tie Bill Drost for 22nd in the FSC record books.
- Lawton is also closing in on 1,000 points in a Florida Southern uniform. With 949 points since transferring to FSC last season, he is poised to become the 43rd player in school history with 1,000 points. He has tallied 1,481 points in his career after scoring 563 in two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas.
- Florida Southern returns home to face Lynn on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. before hitting the road for matchups at Palm Beach Atlantic (Jan. 9) and Barry (Jan. 12)