HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer men's basketball team looks for its ninth win in its last 10 outings as the Bears continue Atlantic Sun Conference play at Northern Kentucky on Thursday evening. Game time at The Bank of Kentucky Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Mercer (13-5, 4-1 A-Sun) is riding a three-game winning streak after downing Kennesaw State 83-46 on Jan. 10 at Hawkins Arena. The Bears' 4-1 A-Sun record marks the team's best start in league play in 11 seasons.
SCOUTING NORTHERN KENTUCKY
Northern Kentucky looks to end a two-game slide on Thursday night, having lost to USC Upstate and East Tennessee State on the road last week. The Norse have won their last five home games and are 10-6 at The Bank of Kentucky Center since moving to NCAA Division I affiliation.
The Norse return one starter and five letterwinners from last year's team that went 11-16 (9-9 A-Sun). In a preseason poll of A-Sun coaches, the Norse were picked to finish ninth among league coaches.
Starting guards Jordan Jackson and Tyler White are the team's primary scorers, averaging 15.0 and 10.4 points per game respectively. Jackson is sixth among the conference scoring leaders while also ranking second with an average of 1.6 steals per game. White does most of his offensive work behind the arc, averaging 1.6 3-point field goals per game.
Head coach Dave Bezold is in his 10th season with the Norse and holds a 179-106 record with the team. Bezold led the Norse to five 20-win seasons in his five nine years with the team before presiding over the team's first season of reclassification in 2012-13.
Mercer had just two turnovers in its victory against Kennesaw State on Friday, marking the second-best team performance among Division I teams this season in terms of turnover rate. Mercer turned the ball over on just 3.2% of their possessions in the win. The only team to have a better turnover rate this season was St. Francis (PA), who turned it over on just 1.6% of their possessions versus Duquesne.
Mercer has been in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major top-25 for the past four weeks. The Bears check in at No. 13 this week, the highest ranking in program history. Four-straight weeks in the poll is also a program best.
Sophomore Ike Nwamu landed the No. 6 spot on SportsCenter's Top-10 segment after cramming a fast-break windmill dunk in Mercer's win over Kennesaw State on Friday.
Mercer's 37 point win over Kennesaw State was its seventh win by 20 or more points this season. Over the past five seasons, Mercer has won 26 games by 20 or more points.
Mercer is off two its best conference start in 11 years following the win over Kennesaw State on Friday night. The last time Mercer started 4-1 was during the 2002-03 season, in which the Bears won five of their first six league games.
Senior center Daniel Coursey enters Monday five blocks shy of tying Wesley Duke for the program's career block record (173).
Senior forward Jakob Gollon scored the 1,000th point of his career last time out.
Head coach Bob Hoffman is 37-12 after December 31 in the last three seasons.