MACON, Ga. – The Mercer men's basketball team closes its regular season slate on Saturday, hosting Jacksonville for Senior Day at 1 p.m.
Mercer (22-8, 13-4 A-Sun) can clinch at least a share of the Atlantic Sun regular season championship with a win, as it enters Saturday's play tied with Florida Gulf Coast atop the league standings.
Jacksonville enters Saturday's regular season finale on a three-game winning streak after topping Kennesaw State, 71-69 on Thursday night. The Dolphins are 12-16 (8-9 A-Sun) and 2-11 in road games this year.
Sophomore guard Jarvis Haywood is one year removed from a 2013 All-Freshman team selection and leads the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game. Haywood has scored 20 or more six times this season, including twice in the last three games.
Senior Javon Dawson ranks fifth among A-Sun players in rebounding, pulling down an average of 6.9 caroms per game. Dawson has grabbed 10 or more rebounds eight times this year, but only managed three boards in this year's previous meeting with Mercer.
Jacksonville returns three starters from last year's team that went 14-18 (9-9 A-Sun). The Dolphins were picked to finish fourth among A-Sun competition in the preseason coaches and media polls.
Head coach Cliff Warren is in his ninth year with Jacksonville, having led the team to a 126-148 record during his tenure. Warren has led the Dolphins to postseason play in three of the last five years, including a trip to the NIT round of 32 in 2010.
Mercer can claim at least a share of the A-Sun regular season title with a win on Saturday. The title would be the team's third regular season A-Sun championship in program history. The Bears were co-champions in 2003 and outright champs last year.
Mercer can only be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in next week's A-Sun tournament. If Mercer and FGCU were to win on Saturday, the tie breaker would be determined by the ETSU vs. USC Upstate game on Friday night. If ETSU won, Mercer would be the No. 1 seed, while a USC Upstate win would give the Eagles the top spot.
Mercer will honor its seven-member senior class after Saturday's game. The class is arguably the most successful in the history of the program, touting an 88-49 overall record and a pair of championships (2012 CollegeInsider.com Tournament, 2013 A-Sun regular season) to date.
Langston Hall scored his 1,500th career point on Thursday night against North Florida. His 1,505 career points ranks 9th among Mercer all-time scoring leaders.
Mercer is 44-5 at home since the start of the 2011-12 season and 25-2 in its last 27 regular season A-Sun home games dating back to the 2010-11 season.
Mercer's OT loss to North Florida on Thursday was the team's first overtime loss of the year. The Bears are 4-1 in overtime games this season, with wins over Seton Hall, Valparaiso, Denver and USC Upstate. The Bears are also 10-2 in their last 12 overtime games overall.
Bud Thomas became the 38th member of Mercer's 1,000-point club on Feb. 15, joining teammates Langston Hall and Jakob Gollon in the exclusive group. Mercer is one of just seven schools nationally to start three 1,000-point scorers.
Jakob Gollon was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after suffering medical hardships in his first two collegiate seasons. On Thursday, Gollon moved into 8th place in NCAA history for career games played - tied with Duke legend Christian Laettner.