ATHENS, Ohio (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer men's basketball team opens a daunting three-game road swing on Tuesday night, facing Ohio at 7 p.m. The game marks the start of an eight-day, three-game road trip that won't see the team return to Macon until December 3.
Mercer (4-2) aims to win its third-straight after going 2-0 with home wins over Johnson and Wales and Yale last week. The Bears also eye their first road win of the year after suffering defeats at Texas and Evansville.
Ohio is 4-1 overall and riding a three-game winning streak after topping Heidelberg 85-57 on November 23, 2013. The Bobcats are 3-0 at home this year and 41-3 at home in their last 44 games at the Convocation Center.
The Bobcats return one starter and eight letterwinners from last year's team that went 24-10 and won the Mid-American Conference with a 14-2 record. The team's season came to an end in a 61-57 loss at Denver in the first round of the NIT.
Ohio features three players averaging in double-figure scoring, led by senior guard Nick Kellogg. Kellogg, who is the son of former Indiana Pacer and CBS college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg, averages 15.6 points per game and has scored 16 or more points in four of the team's five games.
Head coach Jim Christian is in his second year with Ohio and is the MAC's all-time winningest coach. He's racked up 222 career wins at Kent State, TCU and Ohio.
Langston Hall is six assists away from breaking the program record for career assists, held by Elston Harris (470). He's had six or more assists in a single game twice this year and 30 times in his career.
As of Monday, Mercer checks in at No. 15 in ESPN's daily RPI. The Bears' non-conference strength of schedule is the 16th best in the country.
Mercer has scored 109 points off the bench in the last two games. The Bears have not been outscored by an opponent's bench all year.
Hall registered the third double-double of his career with 15 points and 10 assists on Saturday against Yale. His 10 assists tied a career-high and helped him join Daniel Coursey as Mercer players with a double-double this season.
Mercer has only been outscored in the second half one time this season (51-35 at Evansville). The Bears are shooting 44.8% (81-of-181) from the field and averaging 38.5 points in the second half this year.