MACON, Ga. (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer men's basketball team concludes the non-conference portion of its regular season schedule on Friday, hosting St. Andrews at Hawkins Arena. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Mercer (8-4) aims to extend a season-long three-game winning streak after besting Ole Miss in dramatic fashion on Dec. 22. Langston Hall nailed the game-winning three pointer with 0.6 seconds left while sophomore Ike Nwamu tallied a career-high 24 points in the victory.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
St. Andrews has not played a full game since Dec. 7 after their last competition at Columbia Internation University was postponed at halftime due to a leaky roof. The Knights are 1-7 on the season and will attempt to snap a six-game slide on Friday evening.
The Knights return just one player and zero starters from last year's team that went 2-25 and 1-15 in Appalachian Athletic Conference play. In a preseason poll of AAC coaches, the Knights were picked to finish 10th in the 10-team league standings.
Junior point guard Aaron Smith carries the scoring load for St. Andrews, averaging 20.6 points per game while shooting 44.1% (26-of-59) from three-point range. Smith has netted 20 or more points in three-straight games and boasts a season-high scoring total of 34 against Bryan College on Nov. 16.
Forward Marko Zjacic leads the team in rebounding, pulling down 6.5 rebounds per game while averaging 12.0 points per game. The junior transfer from Embry Riddle is one of three 6-foot-7 forwards who share honors as St. Andrew's tallest players.
Head coach Andrew Brown is a familiar face in Macon after graduating from Mercer in 2006. Brown spent three years on the Mercer roster and averaged 15.5 points per game as a senior in 2005-06. After his playing career concluded, Brown spent the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons as a Graduate Assistant coach for Mercer.
Mercer's win at Ole Miss last time out was head coach Bob Hoffman's eighth win against high-major competition in six seasons with the Bears. He's also led the team to wins over Alabama (twice), Auburn, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Seton Hall.
Senior guard Langston Hall is two assists shy of reaching the 500 mark for his career. Only 11 players have accomplished the feat in the history of the Atlantic Sun Conference. This season, Hall ranks 36th among all Division I players at 5.5 assists per game and 29th nationally with 66 total assists.
Mercer's win at Ole Miss vaulted the Bears into the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 for the first time this season. The Bears check in at No. 25 in the outlet's rankings, which are compiled based on the voting of 31 mid-major head coaches.
Senior forward Jakob Gollon needs 18 points to become the 37th member of Mercer's 1,000-point scoring club. Gollon has scored 18 or more three times in his career, including a 37-point performance at Valparaiso this season.
Mercer is 6-0 at home this season and 36-4 at Hawkins Arena since the start of the 2011-12 campaign. The Bears are averaging 82.7 points per game in home this season while outscoring opponents by an average of 25.4 points per game.