LAKELAND, FL - Jonathan Lawton scored 24 points and Brett Hanson finished with a double-double as Florida Southern College men's basketball topped Embry-Riddle, 81-70, in Sunshine State Conference action on Wednesday at Streamline Sale Arena at Jenkins Field House. The No. 15 Moccasins (6-1, 2-0 SSC) overcame a slow start to down the Eagles (7-5, 1-2) for the fourth straight time.
ERAU got off to a 5-0 lead and led by as many as seven points in the first five minutes of action, but the Mocs rallied back to grab a 43-37 halftime lead and never trailed in the second half as they led by as many as 19 points en route to their third-straight win.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Southern looked as if it might be in trouble early as the Eagles scored the first five points of the game and led 10-3 with 17:42 to go in the first. The Moccasin were able to score five in a row to pull within two (10-8) when Jack Rauch connected from long range with just over 16 minutes remaining on the clock. ERAU went back up by seven (15-8) just moments later, but the Mocs were able to tie things up at 22-22 on Lawton's three-pointer with 10:23 remaining in the first.
- Trailing 30-29 with just 4:33 to go in the opening period, the Moccasins went up for good when E.J. Dambreville connected from beyond the arc to put Southern in front 32-30 and the Mocs outscored the Eagles 11-7 over the final four minutes of the half to make it 43-37 at the break.
- Florida Southern began to slowly pull away in the early stages of the second half as Rauch gave FSC its first double-digit lead of the game (54-43) with 16:12 to go in the game. ERAU was able to close the gap to three points (58-55) at the 11:56 mark of the half, but the Mocs held the Eagles scoreless for more than seven minutes as they used a 16-0 run to take a commanding 74-55 lead on Kai Cleary's three-pointer with 4:22 to go. It proved to be all the momentum the Moccasins would need as they kept pace atop the SSC standings by moving to 2-0 in conference action.
- Lawton's 24 points came on a 6-of-15 effort from the floor. He knocked down 9-of-10 free throws, snagged seven rebounds, and dished out three assists. Hanson scored 13 points and grabbed 13 boards, while Rauch scored 12 and snagged six rebounds. Slinky Jones had a solid night across the board with eight points, seven rebounds, and four blocks. Dambreville had eight off the bench as the Moccasin reserves outscored ERAU's bench 20-14.
- The Moccasins shot 38.6 percent from the floor and made 27-of-41 free throws while outrebounding Embry-Riddle 49-40. Florida Southern shot 45.8 percent in the second hf while holding the Eagles to just 36.1 percent over the final 20 minutes.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 7-4 all-time aginst Embry-Riddle and picked up its fourth-straight win over the Eagles. The Mocs are 4-2 when facing the Eagles at home, and have won each of the last three meetings at Jenkins Field House.
- Moccasin head coach Mike Donnelly picked up the 243rd win of his coaching career. He is 243-201 in 16 seasons as a collegiate head coach, including a 48-49 record in four seasons with the Mocs.
- Hanson pushed his career scoring total to 1,065 to move up three spots to 29th all-time in school history. Lawton increased his career point total at Florida Southern to 836 and needs just 164 more to become the 43rd player in school history with 1,000 points in a Moccasin uniform. He has scored 1,375 points in his collegiate career, with 563 coming in his first two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas before transferring to FSC.
- For the first time this season, every player who dressed for Florida Southern got into the game. Josh Brown, Jacob Schner, and Myles Wilkins saw their first action of the season while Pierce Kiesler and Tyler Smith both got on the floor for the second time this year.
- Florida Southern will host Lindenwood for its Alumni Weekend game at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15 before facing Cedarville (Dec. 18) and Bloomfield (Dec. 19) in the final non-conference games of the year. The Mocs resume SSC play on Dec. 29 at Nova Southeastern.