Bears' Streak Finished by Dolphins, 74-68
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mercer University saw its five-game win streak come to an end with its 74-68 loss to Jacksonville University at Veterans Memorial Arena. The setback left the Bears with a 13-16 mark overall and 10-8 in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
MU never led in the game as the Dolphins (19-8, 12-5 A-Sun) locked up the No. 3 seed for the A-Sun championships being hosted by Mercer in Macon on March 2-5 at the University Center.
Freshman Langston Hall led the Mercer offense with a career-high 22 points. Hall hit nine-of-12 from the field. He also dished off four assists and made four steals.
JU built a lead of 13 points in the first half at the 15:32 mark. But the Bears fought back to trail by seven at the intermission, 37-30. MU sophomore Chris Smith scored seven of his 10 points off the bench in the opening stanza.
Smith was the only other Bear in double figures. Bud Thomas and Justin Cecil each added nine points.
Both teams shot well in the game – MU at 49 percent and JU at 50 percent – but the difference came in the turnover department. The Dolphins forced the Bears into 20 miscues, its highest total this season since the team had 21 in a loss at Lipscomb back on December 4.
“It was just one of those situations that if we’d taken better care of the ball at the end we had a chance,” MU head coach Bob Hoffman said. “But even with that, we put ourselves in position because our guys gave a supreme effort the whole way through.”