LAKELAND - Florida Southern used a 21-1 second half run to turn a 47-all tie with Lynn into a 68-48 lead with a little less than nine minutes remaining in the game en route to capturing an 87-66 victory over the Fighting Knights in Sunshine State Conference action in front of a season-high 1,493 fans at Jenkins Field House.
With the victory, the top-ranked Moccasins extended its win streak to 14 straight games and improved to 25-1 overall and 13-1 in the SSC. In addiiton, the win also extended the Mocs homecourt win streak to six consecutive games.
"We played really well tonight, especially in the second half," Moccasin head coach Linc Darner said following his team's 15th home win of the season. "This is the time of year we need to play well and be clicking on all cylinders and I thought tonight we did a pretty good job with that."
The Mocs second half run began after Lynn's Pavle Raickovic tied the game at 47 on a lay-up with 13:57 left in the game. FSC's began the run with back-to-back 3-pointers from senior forward Stephen Battle (Waldorf, Md.) and senior guard Tyler Kelly (Pickerington, Ohio) and capped the run with consecutive treys from senior guard Tyler Logan (Landover, Md.).
"We made a great run there in the second half," Darner said. "I told our guys during the timeout that we haven't had a stop on defense yet in the second half and we couldn't just trade baskets with them. I thought we got a few stops, got some good looks and were able to make some shots."
Following the run, LU scored seven of the next 11 points to pull within 72-55 with 6:07 left remaining in the game. That would be as close as the Fighting Knights would get as the Mocs answered with a 13-7 run to push its lead to 85-62 following a fast break lay-up from junior guard Dylan Travis (Omaha, Neb.) with 2:14 left in the contest. Lynn would score four of the final six points to cap the game's scoring.
Battle was one of three Mocs to finish the night in double figures as he tallied 21 points and added eight boards in the win. He scored 11 of his 21 points after halftime.
In addition to Battle, Travis finished the game with 18 points and pulled down a career-high nine boards and senior All-American guard Kevin Capers (Winter Haven, Fla.) added 12 points in 17 minutes of action as he battled foul trouble most of the game.
"His mom was here tonight, so maybe we need to get her here more often," Darner said when asked about Travis' performance. "I thought he played really well. Him and Mike (Volovic) have been struggling with their shooting, but I kept saying to our coaches that if we get those two hitting shots like we know they're capable of then we can be really good.
"I thought in the second half we became really good when those guys starting hitting shots and that's a big thing for our team."
Aaron Harrison did all he could do to keep the Fighting Knights in the game as he finished the night with a game-high 26 points, including scoring 17 of them of them in the second half. Along with Harrison, Russell Wilson added 13 points, including scoring 11 of them in the first half and also pulled down seven rebounds in the loss.
"I thought we did a good job on defense tonight," the Mocs coach said. "(Aaron) Harrison at the end got a lot of buckets, but I thought for the most part we guarded well the last 15 minutes of the game."
Lynn, who fell to 18-6 overall and 10-4 in the SSC with the loss, scored only 21 points over the final 14 minutes of Saturday's game.
The Mocs, whose 14 game win streak is the second longest active streak in Division II, jumped out to a 17-11 lead in the game's opening eight-plus minutes, before LU used a 10-2 run capped by a bucket from Raickovic to take a 21-19 lead with 7:56 left in the opening half.
FSC, though, would answer with an 11-2 run keyed by four points from Capers and capped by a free throw from senior forward Bubby Johnson (Waldorf, Md.) to take a 30-23 lead.
The Fighting Knights, who are ranked sixth in this week's initial NCAA Division II South Regional rankings, closed the half on an 8-5 run to drop the Mocs halftime lead to 35-30.
For the game, the Mocs shot 48 percent from the field and 35 percent from the 3-point line and held Lynn to 42 percent field goal shooting and 30 percent shooting from the 3-point line.
FSC held a 43-36 edge on the glass and forced Lynn into 22 turnovers that led to 17 points. The Mocs committed 16 turnovers and blocked six shots, including three blocks from Battle.
Lynn, who entered the game leading the SSC in blocked shots, finished with five blocks for the game and shot just 53 percent (10-for-19) from the free throw line. The Mocs shot 71 percent (17-for-24) at the free throw line.
The Mocs will conclude the regular season home portion of its schedule this coming Wednesday, Feb. 26 as they host Tampa (17-8, 9-5) in a 7:30 p.m. game on Senior Night at Jenkins Field House. The game will mark the final regular season home game for FSC's six seniors - Battle, Capers, Johnson, Kelly, Logan and forward Daniel Turner (McCordsville, Ind.). Those six seniors will be honored in a ceremony prior to the beginning of the game.
"It's a huge rivalry game," said Darner when asked about the Tampa game. "We have a chance to at least clinch a tie for the league with a win and it would be great to do that on our home court on Senior Night. It's a a big game for lots of reasons and not just because it's Tampa."