Bears Look to Right the Ship Versus Navy
MACON, Ga. – Mercer University’s men’s basketball team is hoping that some “home cooking” will be just what the doctor ordered, as the Bears look to get back in the win column versus Navy on Friday evening. Tip-off at the University Center is 7 p.m.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Navy (4-7, 0-0 Patriot League) and Mercer (2-7, 0-2 A-Sun).
Anyone presenting their military ID will receive free admission to the game.
Additionally, any fan who brings a new, unwrapped toy to the game will also be admitted free of charge. All toys collected will be presented to families of service members stationed at Warner Robins Air Force Base who are serving abroad this holiday season.
MU has lost its last four games, despite some outstanding individual efforts. In its setback at Lipscomb University last Saturday, the Bears received an outstanding effort from senior forward Brian Mills. Mills put up his second double-double of the year in the loss with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
It was Mills’ third double-double of the season, as well as his 27th game in double-figure scoring in his three-plus seasons in the Orange and Black.
The Bears have had a total of 20 double-digit scoring efforts in their nine games played this season. 17 of those games have come from one of the team’s four seniors: Jeff Smith (6), Brandon Moore (5), Mills (4) and Mark Hall (2). The others were from freshman Langston Hall (2) and junior transfer Justin Cecil (1).
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT:
*The Bears and Midshipmen have a lot of statistical similarities, which could make the game like looking in a mirror for the two teams. The most obvious difference is that Navy enters the game having won three of its last five games (with one loss coming in overtime and the other by a single point), while MU has lost four in a row.
*Like the Bears, Navy has played in its home “port” just twice this season (and like Mercer is 1-1 in those games).
*The balanced Middie team has five players averaging 6.0 points per game or better, led by Jordan Sugars’ 13.1 points per game. Greg Brown is close behind at 13.0 p.p.g. J.J. Avila shares high rebound accolades for Navy - along with Sugars - at 5.4 boards per game.
* Navy dropped a tough decision, 65-64, at Coppin State on Tuesday evening. A jumper with :05 left in the game proved to be the difference as the Midshipmen battled back from a 36-32 halftime deficit.
*Four Navy players tallied in double figures in the game: Brown (14); Sugars (12), Isaiah Roberts (11) and Avila (10).
*Mercer’s game versus Navy will complete a series of three first-time opponents on its schedule in 2010-11. The group also includes UT-El Paso and the College of William and Mary.
*Mercer’s A-Sun championship - and NCAA tournament participant - baseball team from 2010 will be receiving their championship rings during halftime.
*This will be the first time Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman has faced Navy during his tenure as an NCAA Division I coach. The only service academy he has played during that time is Air Force (where he owns a 3-1 record versus the Falcons).
*Mercer completed a six-game set away from the University Center (the longest stretch of the season away from its home floor) last weekend in Nashville. MU went 1-5 in that span. Since November 14, Mercer’s men’s basketball team logged more than 5,500 miles in travel. Destinations included: El Paso, Texas; Tallahassee, Fla.; Williamsburg, Va., and; Nashville, Tenn.
*Senior Brandon Moore’s season averages took a hit - as did Moore himself - when an inadvertent elbow to the face midway through the first half at Lipscomb found the Bears’ senior and he was unable to return the rest of the game. He is questionable for the Navy game.