LAKELAND, FL - Jonathan Lawton poured in a career-high 42 points and Florida Southern College men's basketball picked up a huge overtime victory against Lynn, 88-84, in Sunshine State Conference action on Saturday night at Streamline Sale Arena at Jenkins Field House. The No. 7 Moccasins (10-3, 3-2 SSC) put together one of their most complete games of the season to hand the Fighting Knights (11-1, 4-1) their first loss of the season.
Lawton, who finished 13-of-23 from the floor and made eight three-pointers, finished with the Mocs' the highest single-game point total in nearly five years and scored what proved to be the game-winning bucket in the closing moments of overtime to lift Florida Southern to a massive victory.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- In a wild game that featured 12 ties and 20 lead changes, Lawton set the tone for his career night early by drilling a three just over a minute into the contest to put the Mocs on the board first. Florida Southern was able to jump in front by as many as four points on a number of occasions in the first half and led 28-24 with 4:46 to go, but the Moccasins hit a cold stretch and the Knights capitalize with an 8-0 run to take a 32-28 lead with 2:57 left in the half. The momentum carried Lynn until the break as it led 39-36 at halftime.
- Jack Rauch would bring the Mocs even again at 39-39 when he connected from long range less than a minute into the second half. The teams would battle back and forth for the remainder of regulation, with neither team leading by more than four points at any point in the second half. Trailing by two (74-72) in the final minute, Lynn was able to tie things up on Daniel Cooper's dunk with 42 seconds to go, but Brandon Bornelus missed the potential game-winning three for the Knights as the game went to overtime.
- In the extra period, Rauch again opened the scoring with a three-pointer to make it 77-74 and the teams would again go back and forth the rest of the way. Lynn took an 80-79 lead with 2:52 left but Lawton scored four in a row to push the Moccasins back in front (83-80) with 1:38 on the clock. After the Knights tied thing at 84-84 with 38 seconds to go, Lawton put the Mocs ahead for good when he nailed a jumper with just 11 seconds to go, and Slinky Jones hit a pair of free throws at the very end to seal the victory.
- The Moccasins shot a combined 43.8 percent (28-of-64) from the floor, including 10-of-25 from beyond the arc, and went 22-of-31 at the free-throw line. Florida Southern held Lynn to just 34.8 percent (23-of-66), well below the Knights' season average of 45.3 percent. Southern also won the rebounding battle 50-39 and had three players finish in double-digits. In addition to Lawton, Brett Hanson (21) and Rauch (12) also scored more than 10 points while Rauch snagged 12 rebounds. The Moccasins nearly finished with four players with double-digit rebounds as Jones and Ben Marello each had nine and Hanson snagged eight.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 40-13 all-time against Lynn, including a 20-7 mark when facing the Knights at home. The victory was No. 248 for Moccasin head coach Mike Donnelly, who is 248-203 in 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach and 52-51 in four seasons at Florida Southern.
- Lawton's 42 points were the most for a Moccasin since Kevin Capers had 46 against Tuskegee on March 15, 2014. His eight made three-pointers also set a new career high. His 42 points are the most for any player in the Sunshine State Conference this season, and Lawton finished just eight points shy of tying John Ebeling for the single-game school record.
- He also moved closer to becoming the 43rd player in school history with 1,000 points in a Moccasin uniform. He has tallied 991 points during his two seasons at FSC and has scored 1,523 in his career after scoring 563 in two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas before transferring to FSC.
- Hanson pushed his career scoring total to 1,162 points to move into a tie for 20th in school history. He needs just 255 more to move into the top 10 in school history.
- The Moccasins held Bornelus to just five points. He entered the game averaging 15.4 points per game, the 10th best mark in the SSC.
- Florida Southern hits the road to face Palm Beach Atlantic (Jan. 9) and Barry (Jan. 12) before returning home to face Eckerd on Jan. 16.