Bears Advance to A-Sun Semis with win Over Lipscomb, 73-63
MACON, Ga. – Mercer University, the host school and No. 5 seeded men's team in the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference championships, took out No. 4 seed Lipscomb University, 73-63, at the University Center before a partisan crowd of 2,224 fans. The win advances the Bears (15-17 overall) into a semi-final clash with No. 1 seed Belmont University on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m.
MU built a comfortable lead by halftime – 38-27 – and withstood all charges by the Bisons in the second stanza, maintaining a double-figure lead for much of time. Mercer's largest margin was 14 points with 8:39 remaining.
"Just an amazing effort by all our guys and these two seniors (Brian Mills and Mark Hall) have been incredible through this run," MU head coach Bob Hoffman said during the post-game press conference flanked by the two seniors. "I am just so proud of how we continue to attack. I called less offense tonight, than I have in a long time because they were finding each other and making plays, so that was exciting for me.
"But really it was just defense that got us over the hump. Our team defense was tremendous.
"Our guys played tough and they played tough for 40 minutes. I didn't want to hear anything else other than we are going to fight harder."
The Bears rode a stellar effort by All-A-Sun forward Mills, who led all scorers with 27 points, while also grabbing six rebounds and blocking a pair of shots. Mills was nine-of-17 from the floor and a perfect seven-of-seven from the free throw stripe in registering his 26th double-figure scoring game of the year.
Lipscomb was led by 18 points from its All-A-Sun performer, Josh Slater, and 15 from Adam Burgason.
Mercer also did a great job in shutting down Lipscomb's Adnan Hodzic, last year's A-Sun "Player of the Year" and again named first team All-A-Sun this year. Hodzic was held to just nine points, well below his 18.0 points per game average. It was just the third time in 30 games this season that the senior did not score in double-figures in a game for the Bisons.
It was also the second-consecutive win over the Bisons by Mercer, who also closed out the regular season with a victory over LU (68-67) at home last Saturday.