Kissimmee, Fla.- Lynn University's bid for a Sunshine State Conference Men's Basketball Tournament Championship was ended in a 79-66 loss to top-ranked Florida Southern (29-1) on Saturday night at the Silver Spurs Arena. Senior Aaron Harrison led the team with 14 points while Ben Berry and Russell Wilson also scored in double figures.
Florida Southern jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the opening minutes but Cory Thomas's layup at 15:52 made it a two possession game. A three-point play by Fred Landers at the 10-minute mark brought the Fighting Knights within three, 17-14, after he was fouled on a layup. The Mocs would respond with an 11-2 run to lead 28-16 with 7:22 to play in the first half. Florida Southern would lead by as many as 15, 33-18, with 5:22 to go and held on to have an 11-point advantage at the break, 38-27.
Wilson led the team with eight points in the opening stanza while Dante Scholl and Thomas each added seven points. The Fighting Knights shot 36 percent from the floor but made just one-of-ten shots from three-point range. FSC shot 36.4 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from downtown while capitalizing on 13 Lynn turnovers.
Coming out of the break The Mocs took a 15-point lead but Lynn brought it within nine points after Berry made his first trey of the game at 17:30. Lynn trailed by double figures most of the half but another long ball by Berry made it a six point game 51-46, with 13:48 to play in regulation. FSC took its largest lead of 18, 68-50, at 8:16 and held on to defeat the Blue & White by 13 despite the Fighting Knights late push.
Lynn improved to shoot 40 percent from the field in the second stanza but Florida Southern also improved shooting 56 percent from the floor. Harrison had 14 points in the second half while Berry recorded 11 on three treys. The Fighting Knights edged FSC 22-21 in rebounds with a dominant 11 offensive boards in the half.
Overall, Lynn shot 38.5 percent from the field and caused 17 Mocs turnovers in the loss .Wilson had a game-best 7 assists with eight rebounds while Scholl added nine points and David Johnson had a seven rebounds coming off the bench.
Florida Southern's Stephen Battle had a game-high 17 points while four other Moccasins scored in double figures en route to shooting 44.8 percent overall and 45.5 percent from behind the arc in the win.
Lynn (19-9) now will wait until Sunday, March 10, at 10:30 pm to see if it will make its first NCAA Tournament in 10 seasons. Last time the Fighting Knights made the tournament they reached the national semifinals during the 2004-05 season.