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Men’s basketball falls at UAB in season opener

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Men’s basketball falls at UAB in season opener

Marcus Cohen (#3) attempts a drive in game against UAB. Photo provided by Mercer Athletics.

Marcus Cohen (#3) attempts a drive in game against UAB. Photo provided by Mercer Athletics.

Marcus Cohen (#3) attempts a drive in game against UAB. Photo provided by Mercer Athletics.

Marcus Cohen (#3) attempts a drive in game against UAB. Photo provided by Mercer Athletics.

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Mercer men’s basketball fell short in its season opener on Tuesday night, falling on the road to the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers, 75-67. The game was back-and-forth for most of the first half, as the Bears and Blazers traded leads in the opening 12 minutes.

Mercer had their largest lead 16-10 with 9:50 to go before the Blazers finished the half on a 24-9 run thanks to some stifling defense. When the halftime buzzer rang, the Blazers led 34-25.

The second half was a similar back-and-forth battle between the two teams, with Mercer being unable make enough shots to eat into the Blazers lead.

The Bears fought hard until the end, but it wasn’t enough to pull it out.

One bright spot from the game was junior transfer Djordje Dimitrijevic, who came out of nowhere to score 17 of his 19 points for the game in the game’s final 20 minutes.

“He’s a tough nut,” head coach Bob Hoffman said. “He can hit floaters with people on him. I got on him at halftime and he responded.”

For Mercer, who debuted 10 new players, this game was an opportunity to measure where they are as a basketball team this season.

“I think the biggest thing they learned was that they need to have a tougher mindset,” Hoffman said. “We are going to have some growing pains.”

Mercer will have an opportunity to put this game behind them and get back on track when they host Piedmont College Friday night in Hawkins Arena.

“I see a lot of promise in these guys,” Hoffman said. “We will learn and get better.”

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Men’s basketball falls at UAB in season opener