Kevin Capers scored 32 points to lead four Florida Southern players in double figures as the top-seeded and host Moccasins downed the University of North Alabama men's basketball team 94-80 Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament.
Capers, a sophomore from Winter Haven, Fla., did most of his damage in the second half, scoring 24 points after the break. UNA led 43-39 at the half before the Mocs used a 14-2 run to take control of the game. FSC led by as many as 11 in the second half before holding off a late UNA rally for the win.With the loss, UNA ends its season at 19-9.
"We got beat by a very good team on its home floor tonight," said UNA head coach Bobby Champagne. "We uncharacteristically turned the ball over a lot more than we normally do and had some lapses on defense, but a lot of that was because of how talented Florida Southern is."
After taking the four-point lead at the break, the Lions extended the advantage to 51-44 following a three-point basket by Rashaun Claiborne with 16:24 remaining. The Mocs, however, responded with the 14-2 run, including 10 straight points. UNA answered with a basket by Bruce Adams to make the score 54-53 at the 14:24 mark. Capers then scored eight of the Mocs' next 10 points as the home team extended its lead to 64-56.
Florida Southern led by as many as 11 points late in the game before the Lions made one last push. Trailing 79-68, UNA used an 11-3 run to cut the deficit to just three points in the final 2:04 of play. Claiborne scored 10 points during the run, but the Lions could get no closer than 82-79 after his jumper at the 2:04 mark.
"I kept being aggressive and kept shooting the ball," said Claiborne. "My shots were falling."
Florida Southern was able to regroup and close the game on a 12-1 run with UNA's last points coming with 1:21 to play.
"I am extremely proud of this team," Champagne added. "All year long, they have played hard. We were picked to finished fifth in our conference and to make the NCAA Tournament is a tremendous accomplishment for us. We have a lot of guys coming back and are excited about the future."