Bears' Streak Ends at ETSU, 76-61
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The combination of a hot shooting East Tennessee State University team and what Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman called his team’s “worst game of the year,” spelled an end to MU’s three-game win streak, 76-61. The Bears fell to 11-7 overall and 3-2 in the Atlantic Sun Conference, while the Buccaneers improved to 7-7 overall and 2-2 in conference games.
The loss also proved costly in that Mercer could have moved into a first place tie in the A-Sun standings with league-leader Belmont, which lost on Friday evening.
The Bears led by one point early, 7-6, on an Daniel Coursey (11 points) layup less than two minutes into the game. Little did the Bears know they would be chasing the Bucs for the remainder of the game. ETSU led by as much as 20 points in the first half – and 29 point bulge in the second – as they improved to 5-0 on their home floor this season.
The halftime margin was 49-30.
Justin Cecil’s 17 points paced the Mercer team. The senior connected on six-of-12 field goals, including five-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Shaquille Harris had his best game as a Bear, booking 12 points off the MU bench. Harris was four-for-nine shooting overall and went three-of-six from three-point range.
The Bucs defense quieted two of Mercer’s top scorers- Jakob Gollon and Langston Hall. Gollon scored four points, well below his 10.5 points per game average. Hall, who game into the game sharing the team’s top scorer honors with Cecil at 11.2 p.p.g., went scoreless for the second time in the team’s past three games.
Hall did give off a game-leading seven assists on the afternoon.
“I didn’t do a very good job and the players didn’t do a very good job,” Hoffman said. “(ETSU) just kicked our tail.
“It was a physical game and we didn’t respond very well. We did a little better job in the second half, but every time they missed it seemed like they got the ball and put it back in.”
Mercer will try to resume its winning ways on Monday evening at USC Upstate. Tip-off in Spartanburg, S.C., is slated for 7:30 p.m.