Mercer Men's Basketball Drops A-Sun Opener at Belmont, 89-67
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mercer University started the Atlantic Sun Conference portion of the season on the wrong foot, dropping an 89-67 decision at Belmont University. The Bears are now 2-6 overall and 0-1 in the A-Sun, while the Bruins improved to 5-1 and 1-0 in conference.
Belmont led wire-to-wire, but Mercer managed to keep within single digits until the waning moments of the opening period versus the A-Sun’s pre-season No. 3 pick.
Mercer trailed at the intermission, 44-30, thanks in large parts to 12 first half turnovers by the Bears (seven unforced). MU shot 61 percent from the floor in the opening stanza and out-rebounded the Bruins by a 13-10 margin. However, BU had 18 of its 44 first half points directly off Mercer miscues (and 29 points for the game).
Mercer senior forward Brandon Moore tallied 10 of his career-high 22 points in the opening period.
For the night, Moore hit 8-of-11 from the field on the night, giving him his sixth game in eight outings in double-digit scoring. Moore also pulled down 10 rebounds to give him his second double-double of the season.
Moore also gave off four assists and had two blocked shots in his 35 minutes on the floor.
Belmont opened the second on an 8-4 run and began to extend its advantage. Eight minutes into the period, the Bruins had expanded their lead to 21 points. BU led by as much as 24 in the second half.
Brian Mills added 14 points and Jeff Smith 11 for Mercer in the loss. Mills hit 6-of-9 from the field and Smith shared team-high assist honors (with Langston Hall) with six.
As a team, the Bears hit 24-of-48 from the field (50 percent) and 9-of-19 from beyond the arc (47 percent), but again struggled at the free throw line by recording just 10-of-17 (59 percent).
“We’ve got to find some other guys who can come in and help us,” said MU head coach Bob Hoffman regarding his team’s ability to find scoring off its bench. “The depth that we’d hoped for is not showing itself yet, but it needs to.
“(The starters) are playing too many minutes. Belmont’s depth really showed tonight; they stretched us and our depth wasn’t as good as it needed to be.”
Mercer will complete its two-game swing in the “Music City” with a game at A-Sun pre-season favorite Lipscomb University on Saturday (Dec. 4) evening with a 6:30 p.m. (CT)/7:30 p.m. (ET) tip-off.