Despite an up and down conference season, the men’s basketball team seems to know when to rise to the occasion. Coming into the last few games of the regular season, the Tritons (16-6, 9-5 SSC) again played “giant killer” at home, taking down No. 6 Florida Southern College 85-75.
Eckerd stormed out to a fast lead and led by 15 at halftime behind solid shooting and defense from the entire team. Florida Southern came into the game averaging more than 80 points per game, but managed only 27 points in the first half.
Eckerd led by as many as 22 points during the game, but were outscored by the Mocs in the second half. Florida Southern made a second half push and at one point cut the lead to only three with under four minutes to play. It was the closest Florida Southern would get.
Senior Darrien Mack tallied a double-double with 27 points and 14 rebounds. Junior Alex Bodney and Stevenson contributed 17 and 16 points respectively, each draining a trio of three pointers in the game. Stevenson’s last three came on one of the biggest plays of the game.
With the shot clock expiring, a defender in his face, from well beyond the arc and shooting off balance from one foot, Stevenson let loose a three pointer that found the bottom of the net and elicited an uproar from the home fans. The shot pushed the game to a seven point Eckerd lead with under two minutes left and simultaneously won a free pizza voucher for every fan in attendance as the eighth three pointer of the night.
The Mocs responded with a three of their own on the following possession, but Bodney and Mack converted eight consecutive free throws to seal the game.
Mack moved into 15th place all time in total points at Eckerd, growing his career total to 1,064. He is currently only eight points behind the next name on the list, Wayne Sears Jr. (‘12).
The Tritons face Palm Beach Atlantic on Feb. 23 before finishing off the regular season with two SSC conference matchups, traveling to Saint Leo Feb. 27, and then returning home for Senior Day against Lynn, March 2.