Bears Looking to Get Over the Hump Versus Camels
BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Mercer University's men's basketball team will try to keep its winning ways going on Monday evening when it plays at Campbell University.
Head coach Bob Hoffman will be hoping that his Bears' team (4-11, 1-3 A-Sun) will be able to string together two – or more – wins for the first time this season. MU could easily be in the midst of a six-game win streak as opposed to having just cut off a four-game skid with last Wednesday's win, 70-59, over USC Upstate at the University Center.
Monday's contest versus the Camels (8-6, 2-3 A-Sun) will also be the first of three-straight road games over the next six days.
The MU team is buoyed by the outstanding play the past few weeks by senior forward Brian Mills. Mills is coming off of a career-high 30-points performance versus Upstate. It was Mills' eighth-consecutive game with 10-plus points and, along with his 12 rebounds against the Spartans, gave him his team-leading fourth double-double of the year.
Mills sports team leading averages this season in both points (14.4.p.p.g.) and rebounds (6.4 r.p.g.), as well as the top shooting percentage (.497/84-169) among MU's starters.
Fellow senior Jeff Smith bounced back from a scoreless game in Monday's loss to East Tennessee with 14 points in the Upstate win. Smith is second on the Mercer team in scoring at 13.8 p.p.g., while topping the squad in assists at 3.8 per game.
Senior Brandon Moore checks in at 11.7 points per contest, which ranks third on the team, and is second among MU's rebounders at 5.9 caroms per game. Moore's field goal percentage is just fractionally behind that of Mills at .496 (58-117).
CU started the year 7-3 before dropping three successive A-Sun games and then snapping the losing skein last Friday versus Kennesaw State, 65-52, in Buies Creek. The Camels are one of four teams in the A-Sun with winning records overall.
Campbell currently sits in sixth place in the A-Sun standings, one spot above the seventh place Bears' team. CU leads the A-Sun Conference in field goal percentage (.474), three-point field goal percentage (.370) and blocked shots per game (5.0).
Campbell is led in scoring by the tandem of Lorne Merthie and Eric Griffin, who average 12.3 and 11.4 points per game, respectively, as the only CU players in double figure scoring average. Preston Dodson and Griffin top the Camels in rebounds at 6.2 and 6.1 boards per game.
Merthie is Campbell's long-distance threat, having made good on 37-of-82 treys (.451), which ranks third in the A-Sun.
Versus Kennesaw State, Amir Celestin led a quartet of Camels in double digits with 13 points. Dodson added 12 points, while Marvelle Harris and Griffin contributed 11 points apiece. Dodson narrowly missed a double-double with nine rebounds.
CU overcame a 25-19 halftime deficit and outscored the visiting Owls in the second half by a 46-27 margin.
*Mills reached two personal milestones during the Upstate game. His last basket of the first half gave Mills his 800th career point and his final rebound of the game was also the 500th of his four-year career as a Bear.
*Mercer leads the all-time series versus Campbell by a 14-12 margin. The two teams split last season's pair of meetings, with MU winning at home on January 7, 2010 (82-73) and Campbell taking a 69-63 decision on its home court on February 12.
*Mercer is looking for its first "road" win of the season. The Bears are 0-6 on the host team's home floor (but is 1-1 in neutral site games).
*This will be Mercer's final visit to Buies Creek, N.C. to face Campbell as a member of the A-Sun, as the Camels are departing the league after this season. MU has not won in Buies Creek since February 10, 2007 (81-80).