DAYTONA BEACH, FL - Jack Rauch scored 21 points and Florida Southern College men's basketball led for more than 31 minutes as it rolled to its fifth-straight win, 90-73, over Embry-Riddle on Saturday evening at the ICI Center. The No. 23 Moccasins (18-4, 11-3 SSC) rallied from an early six-point deficit to take a three-point lead midway through the first half and defeat the Eagles (11-15, 4-11) to pull into a second-place tie in the Sunshine State Conference standings.
Rauch's point total marked a season-high as Jonathan Lawton (19), Brett Hanson (12), and Slinky Jones (11) also scored in double figures. The victory put the Mocs into a tie with Lynn for second in the SSC. The Fighting Knights were idle on Saturday, and the two teams will square off for their second regular-season meeting on Feb. 16 in Boca Raton.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Southern got off to a slow start as it fell behind 4-0 in the first two minutes and trailed 11-5 at the 15:22 mark of the opening half. But Jones and Ben Marello helped ignite a 10-2 run that saw the Mocs take a 15-13 lead on E.J. Dambreville's layup with 12:57 on the clock. Jones had five points during the scoring run while Marello hit a key three-pointer during the stretch. Embry-Riddle tied things up at 15-15, but the Moccasins took the lead for good when Dambreville nailed a three with 11:19 remaining in the first to make it 18-15.
- The Mocs would slowly add to their lead over the next four minutes before Hanson's jumper at the 7:42 mark gave Southern its first double-digit lead (29-18). Florida Southern would lead by as many as 14 points (39-25) in the final two minutes of the first half and took a 41-31 lead into the locker room at the half.
- After seeing its lead sliced to just five points (46-41) early in the second half, the Moccasins put their foot on the gas and scored six points in a row, capped off by Hanson's dunk at the 13:51 mark, to jump back in front by double digits (52-41). ERAU closed the gap to seven points (54-47) with just under 11 minutes to go in the game, but Dambreville drilled a three-pointer with 10:35 left to put the Mocs back up by 10 as Florida Southern built a 63-50 lead with 8:33 to go. The Mocs would roll from there, leading by as many as 23 points (81-58) in the final four minutes.
- Rauch finished 7-of-13 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from long range, and grabbed eight rebounds while dishing out four assists. Lawton went 7-of-11 with a game-high seven assists, while Jones had eight rebounds and Hanson grabbed six. Dambreville added nine points off the bench while Kai Cleary had seven. Luka Majstorovic led the Eagles with 19 points. Florida Southern shot 48.5 percent from the floor while holding ERAU to just 38.9 percent and outscored the Eagles 20-6 in points off turnovers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 8-4 all-time against Embry-Riddle, including a 4-2 mark then facing the Eagles on the road. The Moccasins are now 9-1 in their last 10 games and have won four-straight SSC road contests.
- Hanson continued his ascent up the all-time scoring list at Florida Southern by pushing his career total to 1,3330. He ranks 17th in school history in scoring. Hanson needs just 87 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.
- Lawton increased his FSC scoring total to 1,179 to move into 18th in school history in scoring. He has scored a total of 1,723 points in his collegiate career after tallying 563 points in two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas. He is 17th in career scoring among active NCAA Division II players and is on pace to set the Florida Southern school record for career scoring average with his 22.2 ppg.
- Florida Southern will face Palm Beach Atlantic at home on Wednesday, Feb. 13 before a crucial road contest at Lynn (Feb. 16).