Mercer to Host Progressive CBE Classic Monday through Wednesday
MACON, Ga. – Mercer University men’s basketball program will be hosting the Progressive CBE Classic sub-regional tournament – running Monday through Wednesday (Nov. 21-23) – at the University Center. Games will be at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily, with the Bears (2-1) playing in the late game each day of the round-robin event.
Monday’s (Nov. 21) slate features Niagara University versus South Dakota State University in the early game, followed by Sam Houston State versus Mercer. On Tuesday (Nov. 22), it will be Sam Houston State taking on South Dakota State and Mercer hosting Niagara. Wednesday’s schedule is Niagara ans Sam Houston State in the first game, followed by the South Dakota State-Mercer match-up in the tourney’s finale.
Mercer is coming off of a huge victory over Southern Conference foe Furman University, 66-46. MU had four players tally in double figures, led by 16 from sophomore forward Bud Thomas. Thomas hit 6-of-9 from the floor and was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. He also pulled down five rebounds, had three assists and two steals.
Senior Justin Cecil and sophomore Daniel Coursey each contributed 11 points. Coursey narrowly missed his first career double-double by grabbing nine rebounds (to go along with three blocks).
Redshirt sophomore Jakob Gollon rounded out the quartet of double-digit scorers with 10 points. Gollon shared game-high assist honors at four “helps”, along with teammate Langston Hall.
Sam Houston State BearKats – Head Coach: Jason Hooten (Southland Conference)
Sam Houston State enters the CBE Classic with a record of 1-1 overall. SHSU rolled up 18 wins and earned its third consecutive Southland Conference West Division championship last year in Jason Hooten's first season as head coach. Senior center Antuan Bootle is the lone returning starter for a young Bearkats squad that will feature four top junior college transfers and two talented freshmen. Since 2000, Sam Houston is as the winningest team in the Southland Conference.
Niagara Purple Eagles – Head Coach: Joe Mihalich (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference)
Niagara comes in with a 1-1 record, topping to Central Connecticut (102-93) and losing to Missouri (83-52). Now in his 14th season, Joe Mihalich, the two-time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, is aiming to improve on the previous season. The Purple Eagles return sophomore Marvin Jordan, who was named to the MAAC all-Rookie team for averaging 11.8 points per game a year ago.
South Dakota State Jackrabbits – Head Coach: Scott Nagy (Summit League)
South Dakota State comes in with a deceptive 1-2 record after defeating Western Michigan, but losing to Minnesota and Georgia. Scott Nagy is in his 17th year as the Jackrabbits’ head coach. Coming off a 19-win season, SDSU returns four starters in 2011-12. The backcourt of junior Nate Wolters (19.5 ppg, 188 assists), the school’s first-ever first-team all-Summit selection, and senior Griffan Callahan (8.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) will be key as the Jackrabbits look for their first NCAA Tournament berth at the Division I level.
-All three visiting teams will be first-time opponents versus Mercer. Additionally, none of the other participating teams has ever faced each other in men’s basketball prior to the 2011 CBE Classic…giving the tournament a total of six first-time NCAA Division I basketball match-ups!
-MU one of just two CBE sub-regional sites in the nation (Bowling Green is the other).
-The Progressive CBE Classic is the second major college basketball tournament which the Mercer program has brought to Macon. For the past two seasons MU has also hosted the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships at the University Center, as it will again in 2012 and 2013.
-The CBE Classic is produced by the Gazelle Group in Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally recognized events, such as the 2K Sports Classic, the TicketCity Legends Classic, the CBI presented by Zebra Pen, and the All-American Championship. The Gazelle Group is a member of USA Basketball.
-The CBE Classic event is named after the College Basketball Experience, the award-winning and highly interactive college hoops fan facility adjacent to Sprint Center, which also features the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Opened in October 2007, the College Basketball Experience is the nation's only facility that celebrates, in its entirety, the sport of men's collegiate basketball. The tournament, in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), was initially established in 2001 as the Guardians Classic.