Bears Travel to Athens to Face Georgia on Tuesday
ATHENS, Ga. – Mercer University will play the second leg of a tough five-game road swing on Tuesday evening when it travels to the Stegeman Coliseum to face the University of Georgia. Tipoff is slated for 7:05 p.m.
The Bears (7-4 overall) are coming off of a tough overtime loss, 80-77, at Seton Hall last Sunday afternoon. The loss snapped MU’s two game win streak.
However, Mercer would like nothing more than to snap a 14-game drought versus the Bulldogs (5-5 overall). The last time the Bears got the best of UGA was in January of 1959 when they scored a 66-62 win in Macon. Since then it’s been all Georgia, including last year’s 56-53 victory in Macon. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 51-23.
In last year’s meeting, Mercer had an 11-point lead in the second half, only to see it evaporate. The Bears had two possessions in the waning seconds to get the win, but could not convert.
Sophomore point guard Langston Hall is coming off a solid 17-point, seven assist performance at Seton Hall. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native has raised his season average to 13.6 points and 3.9 assists per game, all while shooting 41 percent (48-117) from the field.
Redshirt sophomore Jakob Gollon registered his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds versus the Pirates on Sunday. Gollon scores at a 10.7 p.p.g. clip and tops the Bears’ rebounders at 6.1 caroms per game. He is also second on the team in assists at 3.5 per game.
Gollon also continued to rise in the national statistics as the No. 5 free throw shooter in NCAA Division I. Gollon has connected on 32-of-34 for an average of 94.1 percent.
Senior Justin Cecil is the third member of the team averaging in double figure scoring at 11.5 p.p.g. Cecil has canned 25 three-pointers, including one with 24 seconds left in regulation versus Seton Hall to send the contest into overtime. Cecil is hitting nearly 44 percent from the field (43-98) and 39 percent (25-65) from three-point range.
Cecil led MU’s scoring at Seton Hall with 18 points.
The game will be available live on WPCH 96.5 FM in the Macon area. The pre-game show begins at 6:45 p.m. with Rick Cameron calling the action. The game can also be seen live on Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast television or via the internet on ESPN3.
UGA leads the series with Mercer by a 51-23 margin, dating back to the first game in 1906-07 (a UGA win). The Bulldogs have won the last 14 meetings between the teams.
The Bears’ last victory versus UGA came during the 1958-59 season, 66-62 in Macon.
Georgia’s 56-53 win at the University Center last year was the first meeting between the teams in a 11 years. Last season’s final margin - three points - was also the closest since the Bears’ win in 1958-59. In the prior 13 wins by UGA before 2010-11, the Bulldogs had defeated the Bears by an average of better than 21 points per game.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT:
Georgia is coming off of a victory at Southern California, 63-59, last Saturday. That win by the Bulldogs snapped a four-game losing streak that included setbacks to Xavier, Colorado, Cincinnati and Georgia Tech. Prior to Saturday’s victory at USC, UGA’s last win was a 61-57 victory over Notre Dame on November 22.
Head coach Mark Fox’s (40-34/3rd season) Bulldogs are 5-5 overall in 2011-12 and have yet to play an SEC game. Georgia is 3-2 in Stegeman Coliseum this year.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leads UGA in scoring with an average of 14.2 points per game. Caldwell-Pope also averages 5;.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, as well.
Gerald Robinson is second on the team as the Bulldogs only other double-digit scorer at 13.0 p.p.g., while also topping the team at 3.2 assists per game. Marcus Thornton tops UGA’s rebounders at 6.5 caroms per contest.
In its last game, Caldwell-Pope’s 21 points on a 7-of-12 shooting effort from the field led the Bulldogs to the 63-59 win at USC. Robinson added 17 points and Dustin Ware 12. UGA shot better than 51 percent (22-43) from the floor.
- Mercer will be taking on Georgia for the 75th time on Tuesday evening.
- For the second-straight game, the Bears will be taking on a team with a player named “Pope” as its leading scorer. UGA’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the Bulldog’s top scoring threat at 14.2 p.p.g. In MU’s loss on Sunday, Seton Hall’s leading scorer - Herb Pope - entered the game averaging 21.9 p.p.g.
- In the latest RealTime RPI.com ranking, Mercer fell to No. 141 in the RPI ranking with a composite of .5128 and a strength of schedule of No. 267. Georgia is No. 86 in the RPI and No. 38 in strength of schedule.
-In two of MU’s losses - at Seton Hall (12/18/11) and at Belmont (12/3/11) - the Bears out-shot both opponents from the field.
- In all four of Mercer’s losses in 2011-12, the Bears have shot less free throws than their opponents.