BOCA RATON, FL - Florida Southern College men's basketball scored 56 points in the second half to erase an 11-point halftime deficit and force overtime but was unable to come away with a win in a 99-98 loss to Lynn in Sunshine State Conference action on Saturday afternoon at the de Hoernle Center. The No. 19 Moccasins (19-5, 12-4 SSC) shot a blistering 54.1 percent in the second half to tie the No. 16 Fighting Knights (20-3, 13-3), but Jonathan Lawton's three-pointer fell short in the closing seconds of overtime as the Mocs fell by one point.
Lawton, who finished with a team-best 35 points, scored 25 combined between the second half and overtime. But his three-pointer fell just short in overtime and Jack Rauch collected the rebound for the Moccasins but was unable to draw a foul as he hit a layup at the buzzer to make the final 99-98. Brett Hanson (18), Ben Marello (14), and Slinky Jones (11) all scored in double figures for Southern, but Lynn got a 38-point effort from Michael Baez to come out on top.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Lynn got off to a hot start by drilling two three-pointers in the first two minutes and led 23-6 with 12:54 to go in the first half. But the Moccasins battled back to pull within 10 points (41-31) with 1:19 remaining the opening period and trailed by just 11 (44-33) at the break. The Knights connected on 55.6 percent (15-of-27) from the floor, including 7-of-11 in the first half, while limiting the Mocs to just 33.3 percent (10-of-30).
- The tone for the second half was set on Florida Southern's opening possession when Jones nailed a three-pointer to bring the Moc within single digits (44-36) for the first time since the opening five minutes of the game. Trailing by 17 (63-46) with 15:21 to play, Florida Southern was able to reel off a 17-4 run that helped them climb back into the game and cut the deficit to just four (67-63) at the 10:39 mark.
- Despite rallying to get within striking distance, the Mocs found themselves trailing by 13 (84-71) in the final five minutes of the game. But a 9-0 run by Florida Southern closed the gap to 84-80 on Lawton's layup at the 2:43 mark. Florida Southern grabbed its first lead (87-86) when Lawton scored with 1:54 left in regulation. Down one with less than 30 seconds to go, Marello went to the free throw line and hit 1-of-2 to send the game to overtime tied at 89-89.
- In the extra period, Lynn scored the first three points to go up 92-89 and led 95-91 with just 35 seconds to play. Lawton hit a layup through contact and hit the ensuing free throw to make it 95-94. With the scored at 96-96, the Knights hit a three-pointer to go up by three. Lawton got off the potential game-tying shot with one second left, but the shot missed and Rauch collected the rebound and hit a layup, but was unable to draw a foul as the score ended 99-98.
- Lawton added five steals, four assists, and two rebounds to his stat line while Jones and Rauch each had seven rebounds. Florida Southern shot 54.1 percent in the second half and 45.3 percent for the game while Lynn connected on 50.0 percent of its shots and 12-of-23 from long range. The Mocs outscored the Knights 48-34 in the paint, but Lynn's bench outscored FSC's 24-11.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 40-14 all-time against Lynn, including a 16-6 mark when facing the Knights on the road.
- Hanson continued his ascent up the all-time scoring list at Florida Southern by pushing his career total to 1,367. He ranks 12th in school history in scoring. Hanson needs just 50 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 1,237 and needs just 36 more to move into 16th in school history in scoring. He has scored a total of 1,800 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 22.5 ppg.
- Florida Southern will travel to Eckerd on Wednesday for a 7:35 p.m. tipoff on ESPN3 as part of the DII Showcase. The Moccasins are back home on Feb. 23 against Barry, travel to Saint Leo on Feb. 27, and close out the regular season at home against Rollins on March 2.