JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2013) – Having rallied back to get within three points midway through the second half, the ETSU men’s basketball team was unable to complete another Saturday comeback and dropped a 71-54 decision to Atlantic Sun Conference rival Mercer inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.
The Buccaneers (9-19 overall, 7-8 A-Sun) played a dismal first half offensively, shooting just 16 percent from the floor and falling behind by as many as 16 points before the intermission. After the break, ETSU managed to get to within three at 41-38 after a technical foul call on Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman, but looked on as the Bears (18-9, 11-3) outscored them 30-16 the rest of the game.
“After the technical we were right there,” said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. “But the last 10 minutes of the game we got outplayed and outcoached. We just weren’t very good on either end of the floor. Mercer is a good team and they had players that made plays when it counted down the stretch.”
As in several games so far this season, the Bucs struggled early on in the contest and only had four made field goals by halftime. This obviously allowed the Bears to build a 27-13 halftime advantage.
Following the halftime break, the Bucs actually found their shooting stroke and went on an 18-10 run to make it 41-38 with 10:39 left in the game. However, from there Mercer put together a 10-0 run of its own with some effective offensive plays and a lockdown defensive effort, and they never looked back.
For the game, Mercer would shoot 46 percent from the floor – 57 percent in the second half – and hit on 12-of-25 (48 percent) from 3-point range. The Bears also won the rebounding battle 36-25, while dishing out 17 assists – compared to just four assists for the Bucs.
ETSU senior guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) led the Bucs with a game-high 18 points, while sophomore post John Walton (Memphis) and junior forward Hunter Harris (Nashville) pitched in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Mercer was led in scoring by guard Travis Smith with 16, while Langston Hall netted 15 and Jakob Gollon added 12.
The Bucs will return to action on the road for a pair of games this weekend in Jacksonville, Fla., beginning Thursday night at North Florida followed by a Saturday afternoon tilt with Jacksonville. For more on ETSU men’s basketball as the team wraps up the 2012-13 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s hoops link.