JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer men's basketball team looks to go 2-0 in A-Sun play for the second-straight season on Wednesday, challenging North Florida at UNF Arena at 7 p.m. The Bears (10-4, 1-0 A-Sun) claimed their fifth-straight win in style on Monday, downing Jacksonville by a 37-point margin at Swisher Gymnasium.
Wednesday's game marks the 17th all-time meeting between the schools, with Mercer holding a 13-3 lead in the series. Head coach Bob Hoffman is 8-2 against the Ospreys with Mercer.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
The Ospreys are 7-7 (1-0 A-Sun) on the season after topping Kennesaw State 85-60 in the team's A-Sun opener on Monday night. North Florida is 5-1 at home this season, having not lost at UNF Arena since falling to Southern 87-78 on Nov. 16.
The Ospreys return two starters and four letterwinners from last year's team that went 13-19 (8-10 A-Sun). The team was picked to finish fifth among A-Sun competition in a preseason poll of the league's coaches, while senior forward Travis Wallace was named to the Preseason All-Conference team.
Wallace paces the team with averages of 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and is coming off a 26-point, five-rebound effort against Kennesaw State. Freshman guard Dallas Moore adds 11.0 points per game and is shooting 40% (16-of-40) from three point range.
Head coach Matthew Driscoll is in his fifth season with the program and holds a 64-79 overall record and a 36-40 record in conference play.
Mercer's 68.9% field goal percentage last time out was a program single-game record. The previous best was 63.9%, set against Jacksonville on Jan. 23, 2012. The Bears were 18-of-20 (90%) from the field in the second half, just shy of the NCAA record for a half set by North Carolina against Virginia in 1978.
Head coach Bob Hoffman is 34-11 after December 31 in the last three seasons.
Mercer leads the A-Sun in 14 statistical categories (Scoring margin, free throw percentage, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, 3-point FG percentage, 3-point FG percentage defense, rebounds per game, rebounds allowed, rebound margin, blocked shots, assists, assist-to-turnover ratio and defensive rebounds). The Bears are also eighth in the country in total assists.
Senior forward Jakob Gollon needs 10 points to become the 37th member of Mercer's 1,000-point scoring club. Gollon has scored 10 or more 52 times in his career, including twice this season.
Mercer's 37 point win over Jacksonville was its sixth win by 20 or more points this season. Over the past five seasons, Mercer has won 25 games by 20 or more points.
Mercer has out-rebounded its opponent in seven-straight games and nine of the last 10 games. The Bears lead the conference in rebounding margin (+8.4).