MACON, Ga. (MERCER RELEASE) – Senior Langston Hall and sophomore Jibri Bryan combined for 35 points to help the Mercer men's basketball team overcome a slow start and down East Tennessee State, 73-63 on Monday night at Hawkins Arena.
Mercer's second-straight win pushed the team to 9-0 at home this season and 12-5 (3-1 A-Sun) overall while the Buccaneers fell to 8-7 (1-1 A-Sun).
Hall netted 19 points highlighted by 10-of-10 shooting at the free throw line while Bryan added a season-high 16 points on 6-of-8 field goal shooting and 2-of-4 aim from three-point range. Hall also collected four rebounds, three assists and a steal while Bryan added a rebound and an assist in the winning effort.
Mercer misfired on its first five field goal attempts and committed three turnovers in the opening six minutes as the Buccaneers raced out to an early 15-1 advantage. The Bears finally got some offense going as Hall was fouled on a three-point attempt at the 13:48 juncture and canned all three free throws.
Bryan kept things rolling with a driving layup on the next possession, and later a Daniel Coursey layup got Mercer within eight at the second media break of the game.
Later in the half, an emphatic block by sophomore Ike Nwamu halted a fast break attempt and senior Anthony White Jr. and Hall swished three pointers on each of the next two possessions to cap a 17-3 Mercer run and knot the game at 18-18.
The Buccaneers went back up 23-18 before Mercer exploded for another surge, this time to the tune of a 19-6 advantage over the final 7:02 of the half to take a 37-29 lead to the break. A key stretch of the run saw Bryan score eight-straight Mercer points in just 1:11 of time as Mercer blitzed the Bucs with 6-of-9 shooting from the floor during the charge.
Mercer continued to pour it on at the beginning of the second half as Hall drilled two three's in the opening minute to put the Bears ahead by 12. ETSU remained resilient, however, using an 18-5 run charge to get within two at 53-51 with 7:50 to play in the game.
From there, the Mercer defense clamped down and held the Bucs to only one field goal over the next five minutes of play to put the game out of reach.
Mercer ran its record to 39-4 at home over the last three seasons and 20-1 in its last 21 A-Sun regular season home games. The Bears are also 3-1 in A-Sun play for the third-straight season.
Mercer resumes its home stand on Friday, hosting Kennesaw State at Hawkins Arena for a 7 p.m. tipoff.