LAKELAND, Fla. – The Ninth-ranked Florida Southern College men's basketball team closed out the first round of the conference schedule with an 85-77 victory over the visiting Spartans of the University of Tampa on Wednesday night. Southern improved to 16-2 overall, and 8-2 inside the SSC, while Tampa drops to 5-13, and 2-8 in the SSC.
On a night in which Florida Southern dedicated its new MIDFLORIDA Credit Union scoreboards, the home team saw three individuals hit double-digit figures as senior Brett Hanson led the team with 30 points, junior Jalyn Hinton had 20 and Jair Rodgers added on another 14 in the victory. Tampa also saw three players hit double-digit point totals as Pat Bacon led the game with 32 points, while Gio Diaz and Martin Lakovic added on 19 and 15 points, respectively for the visitors.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Hanson opened the game's scoring as the Mocs maintained control over the first six minutes of action until the Spartans' Diaz hit a three to give the visitors their first lead of the night, 9-8. At this point, Tampa would use a 10-0 run to grab a 16-8 lead. FSC would call its first timeout nearly eight minutes into the game.
- The Mocs would respond to head coach Mike Donnelly's timeout message as E.J. Dambreville would cut the deficit to five, 16-11. This would prompt the Mocs to begin a 10-3 run to jump back in front, as Hanson sent a fast break pass to Hinton who slam-dunked the ball to put the home team up 21-19, a lead they would hold the remainder of the first half.
- A pesky Spartan team would keep the Mocs on their toes as over the next four minutes they would outscore the home team 4-3 to cut the lead to three with 3:31 left in the first half. Over the final three and half minutes the Mocs would lead by a much as three, on three separate occasions, and as little as one. Tampa would gain some momentum exiting the first 20 minutes as Bacon capitalized on a turnover by Hanson and took it to the other end of the court and made a fast-break layup as time expired, but the Mocs would head into the break with a 33-32 advantage.
- The visiting team kept the momentum out of the break they would take their final lead of the game as Khadim Gueye hit a jumper to put Tampa up 34-33 just 23 seconds into the final 20 minutes. The next 90 seconds would see a lot of defensive action as neither team could nail a shot until Dambreville hit a three on the fast break for a 36-34 Moccasin lead.
- After the Spartans would tie the game up 36-36, Hanson gave the home team a 38-36 advantage, this time for good, at the 17:17 mark of the second half. This would spark a 12-0 run for Florida Southern as they attempted to put the game away for good over the next three-plus minutes.
- The two teams would trade three-point baskets as Tampa attempted to remain in the game. Despite the Spartans outscoring the Mocs 9-8 in a two-minute span, the two teams would trade a pair of missed three-point baskets each. The home team had answers to everything the visitors were throwing up until the 10:57 mark of the second half that sparked a 6-0 Spartan run to trim the Mocs lead to just four at 57-54.
- As Florida Southern attempted to put the lead back to double-digits the visitors would not go away as they would continue to cut the lead down and back to a mere four-point home team lead, 71-67. Southern would come out of the under four-minute media time out and see Dambreville hit both free throws for a two-possession lead, 73-67. Diaz once again kept his team in the game as he drained a three with 3:18 left in the second half to make it a one-possession game at 73-70.
- That would be all she wrote for the visitors as Florida Southern used three trips to the line to regain a nine-point lead, 79-70, with just over two minutes to go in the game. Despite a 7-6 run for Tampa over the final two minutes, the Mocs would close out the first half of conference play with an 8-2 record as they defeated the Spartans 85-77.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern scored 21 points off 17 Spartan turnovers while the Mocs saw 12 turnovers lead to 15 points for Tampa. FSC held a wide margin in points in the paint as they had 44 to just 26 by the visitors.
- The Mocs shot 47.7% from the field, while UT shot 43.1%.
- Hanson has now recorded 25+ points in four different outings this season. FSC out-rebounded Tampa 39-33.
- Southern blocked seven Spartan shots on the night, with Hinton swatting away four by himself. Only one shot by the Mocs was blocked by Tampa.
- Hanson pushed his career scoring total to 1,936, the third-highest total in school history. The senior needs just 64 points to become just the third player in program history to record 2,000 career points. He has also tallied 766 rebounds, good for seventh in the program record books. His 190 steals are good for seventh, while his assist total of 385 ranks ninth.
- Florida Southern will close out a three-game homestand, on Saturday, January 25, when Barry comes to town to begin the second half of the conference schedule. After closing out January with a road matchup at Saint Leo (Jan. 29) the Mocs will return home to open up the final month of the regular season hosting Embry-Riddle (Feb. 1).