Florida Southern’s Men’s basketball team remained undefeated after a double-overtime win against Tampa at the Jenkins Fieldhouse on Jan. 22.
Approximately halfway through the season, the Mocs find themselves in uncharted waters. The program has never won their first 18 games, with a ranking of No. 2 in the country to show for it. Additionally, they have won their last two games by a total of six points, against Florida Tech and the University of Tampa, respectively.
“The guys showed great composure in tough moments, and made big play after big play in both wins,” Dominic Lane, a senior player from St. Petersburg, said.
The strong start has brought a lot of publicity to the program. With that, pressure and responsibility is mounting, which could be potentially distracting. However, the team insists they are remaining focused, and are doing their best to not get ahead of themselves.
“We don’t worry about staying undefeated. We just prepare for each game,” said Bubby Johnson, a junior transfer from Utah State University Eastern.
Another reason for success can be attributed to added roster depth. Head Coach Linc Darner added several transfers, including major contributors such as Stephen Battle, Tyler Logan, Frank Adams, and Johnson. They joined an already strong inherited core, which allows the Mocs to rotate more players into the game, which is also helping prevent injury and fatigue.
“Everyone has stepped up in different ways. Our team was built off of depth, and no single person is going to win it for us this year,” Johnson said.
FSC found themselves at Rollins on Wednesday, Jan. 29. It is traditionally a game where emotions run high, and the environment can be hostile. The Mocs organized a cheer bus to Rollins, where Florida Southern fans were directly escorted to the game, and have their own seating section.
Despite the difficult environment, the team looked to remain focused on their execution.
“Rollins is one of our biggest rivals, and we know the atmosphere is going to be crazy. We have to come out focused and ready to play,” Garrett Putman, a redshirt senior, said.
Despite unprecedented success, the Mocs feel there is still plenty of room for improvement. Lane alluded to rebounding and communication being their biggest weaknesses, and mentioned defense needing a boost.
“We communicate well off the court. If we could translate that to on the court, it would enhance our team play a lot,” Lane said.
After Rollins, FSC will play two more conference matches, hosting Nova Southeastern and traveling to Barry University on Feb. 1 and Feb. 5.
Photo by Valeria Sabate