No. 21 Florida Southern defeats Tampa

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Reems Landreth

A second half comeback highlighted by two key three pointers by Rico Releford gave No. 21 Florida Southern a 74-67 win over Tampa last night in Jenkins Field House.

Releford, Slinky Jones and Jonathon Lawton all scored in the double digits during the game. The last time that the Mocs faced off against Tampa was in a 75-56 win on Feb. 21, 2018 in Jenkins Field House.

The Mocs opened the conference play with a 13-1 run over the first 3:27 as four starters found the basket. The 12 point lead would extend to 13 over the next 35 seconds before Tampa took the lead with 9:09 left in the half.

Jones got into trouble early as he saw his third foul with 8:08 left in the first half. He accredited the fouls to sloppy play and bad positioning on his part.

“I knew if I wanted to play in the second half, I had to stop fouling.” – Slinky Jones.

Florida Southern tied the game with 7:24 left in the half, but Tampa re-extended their lead to five with 5:26 left. The five point lead remained through the end of the first half as Tampa went to the break up five points (35-40).

Lawton led the Mocs at the half with 10 points and 3 rebounds.

During the half, former Moccasin player Cedric Powell ’02 presented President Anne Kerr and Athletic Director Pete Meyer a $25,000 check for the Cedric P. Powell, Sr. ‘02 and Dr. Donna Powell Endowed Scholarship for Men’s Basketball.

The first presentation was followed by a second where senior swimmer Matt Holmes and former golfer John Vanderlaan were presented their individual National Championship rings for the 400 IM and Men’s Golf, respectively.

Jones tied the lead at 47 with 15:56 after Lawton brought it back to within three. Tampa momentarily regained the lead until 13:17 left in the game when Jones sunk a wide open three to take the lead 53-52.

With tensions rising, the lead danced back and forth over the next 5:40 until Jones’ fourth foul, a controversial one which sent the crowds into a fit of boo’s, set a spark in the Moccasin team.

Florida Southern went on a 12-7 run over the last 7:37 to complete the comeback.

Releford scored 12 points off the bench, accounting for over 50 percent of the bench’s point.

“Honestly, I’ve been in a slump, not providing the team what we need. It felt great. We needed it and we got the win and that’s all that matters.” – Rico Releford 

Florida Southern moves to 5-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Sunshine State Conference. The Mocs will play again on Dec. 3 against SSC opponent Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at home.

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