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High-Flying Mocs Top No. 7 Valdosta State

High-Flying Mocs Top No. 7 Valdosta State

LAKELAND, Fla. - Six different players scored in double figures, including three with 20 or more points, as Florida Southern College men's basketball knocked off the No. 7 team in the nation with a 105-94 victory over Valdosta State on Saturday night at Jenkins Field House and Streamline Sale Arena.

The Moccasins (6-1) had huge nights from the trio of E.J. Dambreville, Brett Hanson, and Jair Rodgers to top the Blazers (6-2) and cap off a 2-0 weekend at the Terrace Hotel Thanksgiving Classic.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Florida Southern got off to a great start as it grabbed an 11-4 lead when Rodgers hit a three-pointer at the 16:17 mark of the first half, but Valdosta State worked its way back to tie things up at 16-16 with 12:24 left. The teams would trade the lead three times in the next two minutes before the Blazers reeled off a short 7-1 run to take their largest lead of the first half (34-27) with just under six minutes to go in the opening period.
  • Down by six (40-34) with 4:49 on the clock, the Moccasins mounted an 11-0 run to jump in front by five (45-40) with 2:11 to go in the first. Nine of the 11 points during the run came at the free-throw line including an incredible play by Xavier Rhodes, who capped off the scoring run with driving layup through contact and hit the ensuing free throw.
  • During the run, Florida Southern held Valdosta State scoreless for 3:13 and outscored the Blazers 16-3 over the final 4:49 of the first half to take a 50-43 lead at the break. Rodgers (16) and Hanson (12) scored in double figures in the first half and Dambreville went 3-of-6 from the three-point line.
  • The Blazers scored the first six points of the second half to close within one (50-49) on Bryce Smith's three at the 19:00 mark, but the Moccasins scored the next two buckets to go back up by five (54-49). Darrell Jones hit a three-pointer for Valdosta State to pull the Blazers back within two  (54-52) with 17:11 to play, but the Moccasins ripped of a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to jump in front by 12 (64-52) and it would prove to be the pivotal swing of the pendulum.
  • Florida Southern led by as many as 18 points (79-61) in the final 10 minutes of play and never led by less than 10 the rest of the way as they knocked off their first ranked opponent of the season.
  • Hanson led all players in scoring with 28 points, while Dambreville had 23 and Rodgers finished with 22. Jack Rauch (12), Brandon Carroll (10), and Xavier Rhodes (10) also finished in double figures. Dambreville snagged 11 rebounds, while Hanson and Rodgers each dished out five assists. As a team, Florida Southern shot 49.3 percent (37-of-75) from the floor and knocked down 12 three-pointers.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

  • Florida Southern improved to 17-8 all-time against Valdosta State, and has won each of the last five meetings between the teams. The Blazers entered the game ranked No. 7 in the latest NABC Coaches Poll, and are the highest-ranked non-conference opponent the Mocs have defeated since knocking off No. 3 Bellarmine in the semifinals 2015 NCAA Division II Tournament.
  • Saturday's game marked the first time since Feb. 28, 2018 that the Moccasins had three players with 20 points. The last time three Mocs had 20 or more came in an 80-70 win over Lynn when Jonathan Lawton (24), Hanson (23), and Trey Diggs (20) accomplished the feat.
  • It was also the second time this season that the Mocs have had six players in double figures. Florida Southern had at six players score at least 10 points in the Nov. 16 win at USC Aiken.
  • Hanson upped his scoring total to 1,692 points in his career (16.8 ppg). He is on pace to become just the third player in school history to surpass 2,000 career points. Hanson needs 77 more points to pass Donolly Tyrell for sixth in school history in career scoring.

UP NEXT

  • Florida Southern jumps back into Sunshine State Conference action when it hosts Saint Leo (Dec. 4) before a non-conference matchup with Lindenwood (Dec. 7). The Moccasins close out the calendar year against Lynn (Dec. 14), Northwood (Dec. 20), and American International (Dec. 21).