The men’s basketball team used depth and defensive pressure to pull away from a feisty Tampa team on Jan. 23 in Jenkins Field House.
The 91-65 win improved the Mocs to 14-2 overall and 6-1 in the Sunshine State Conference.
Leading by only six at intermission, the Mocs outscored Tampa, currently 1-6 in the SSC, 48-28 in the second half. FSC head coach Linc Darner said the lopsided second half had a lot to do with the depth on his roster.
“Our depth wears teams out,” Darner said. “I think other teams don’t sub much and that plays into our hands and hopefully we can continue that throughout the season.”
Tampa’s fatigue was no more evident than in the final nine minutes of the game. Holding a 59-50 lead, the Mocs outscored Tampa 32-15 the rest of the way, mostly thanks to their defensive pressure, which held the Spartans to 23-percent shooting in the second half.
Darner was pleased with his team’s defense while he attributed Tampa’s poor second-half shooting percentage to the grueling pace at which the Mocs play.
“This year is probably as good of a defensive team as we’ve had as far as our athleticism and our quickness,” Darner said. “And I think, sometimes when you play the way we do and teams don’t sub, the second-half shooting percentages are going to go down.”
The FSC defense, which carried the team through some offensive struggles early in the second half, also forced Tampa into 19 turnovers.
“That’s kind of our thing. We need to force turnovers,” Darner said. “Our goal is 20 turnovers a game. If we can get a team to turn over 20 times, we probably have a good shot to win the game.”
Despite the lopsided final margin, Tampa refused to go away early on. All tied up after nine minutes of play, the Mocs began to take control with a 15-4 run in just over three minutes, capped by a Seth Evans three.
FSC enjoyed its largest lead of the first half when Lamar McKnight finished a layup off of a Tyler Kelly dish for two of his team-high 11 first-half points with just over three minutes to play.
The Spartans quickly countered with an 8-2 run of their own to bring the teams into halftime with FSC, leading by a score of 43-37.
The Mocs, which saw eight players record double-digit minutes played, were led by a game-high 20 points from junior guard Dominic Lane, including 13 in the second half. Senior guard Seth Evans chipped in with 15 points, including three treys.
The Spartans were led by Da’Markco Foster’s 20 points.
The Mocs will be back in action tomorrow as they take on visiting Lynn at 7:30 p.m. in Jenkins Field House.
See more photos from the Mocs’ victory over Tampa: