WINTER PARK, FL - A slow start on offense proved too much to overcome as Florida Southern College men's basketball saw its four-game win streak snapped in an 83-69 loss at Rollins in Sunshine State Conference action on Saturday at Warden Arena. The No. 22 Moccasins (13-4, 6-3 SSC) fell behind by double digits early on and the Tars (9-8, 3-6) finished the game on a 12-4 run to hand the Mocs their first loss in two weeks.
Ben Marello led Florida Southern with 20 points, while Brett Hanson (17) and Slinky Jones (13) also scored in double-figures, but the strong start from Rollins and the absence of FSC's leading scorer Jonathan Lawton proved too much to overcome. Marello's performance marked his second-straight game with at least 20 points, and the Mocs led by one point (47-46) early in the second half but could not complete the comeback.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Rollins got off to a hot start that put the Moccasins in a big early hole as the Tars started the game on a 15-3 run, holding Southern to just 1-of-7 from the floor in the first five and a half minutes of play. Hanson's three-pointer with 14:34 to go in the first snapped a scoreless stretch of over four minutes but did little to slow down Rollins as the Tars led by as many as 14 (22-8) in the first 10 minutes of action.
- The Mocs were able to battle back by holding Rollins to just two points during a span of almost three minutes. The defensive stand spurred Southern to an 11-2 run that closed the gap to five points (24-19) with 10:04 to play in the opening period. Trailing by 10 (39-29) with less than three minutes to go, the Moccasins scored the final four points of the half and trailed by just six (39-33) at the break.
- Florida Southern's scoring run continued into the opening stages of the second half as it capped off a 10-0 run on Hanson's layup with 18:10 to play to draw even at 39-39. The Tars were able to get back in front by five (46-41) just moments later but the Moccasins were able to score six in a row to take a 47-46 lead, their first since the opening two minutes of the contest, with 14:26 to go.
- The lead would be short-lived, however, as Rollins hit three free-throws on its next possession to go back up by two (49-47) and did not fall behind again. Florida Southern was able to stay within striking distance and trailed by just six (71-65) with 4:12 to play, but Connor McKin scored eight-straight points for the tars to push the lead to 79-66 with 2:43 on the clock and the Mocs scored just three points the rest of the way.
- Marello's 20 points came on a 9-of-15 performance from the floor, while Jones pulled down a team-best seven rebounds and Hanson led the Mocs with four assists. Florida Southern shot 45.2 percent (28-of-62) from the floor, but the Tars connected on 45.6 percent (26-of-57) of their shots and hit an astounding 21-of-24 free-throw attempts. The Moccasins outscored the Tars 40-24 in the paint but Rollins scored 20 points off 13 FSC turnovers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 120-58 all-time against Rollins, including a 47-35 mark when facing the Tars on the road. Lawton had played in and started all 48 games of his Florida Southern career prior to Saturday. He was averaging 21.3 points per game entering the weekend, and he is expected to return to action on Wednesday against Saint Leo.
- Hanson continued his ascent up the all-time scoring list at Florida Southern by pushing his career total to 1,236. He ranks 17th in school history in scoring. Hanson needs just 181 more points to move into the top 10 and is on pace to score more than 1,800 points in his career. Only four other Moccasins have ever surpassed 1,800 career points.
- Dan Patrick, former ESPN Sportscenter anchor, NBC's Football Night in America host and current host of The Dan Patrick Show, served as a special guest commentator for the video feed of Saturday's game.
- Florida Southern returns home on Wednesday to face Saint Leo before having the weekend off. The Mocs close out the month with a road game at Tampa on Jan. 30.