The Mercer men’s basketball recently played in the General Shale Atlantic Sun Championship. Despite the ultimate goal of winning the tournament and receiving a bid to the big dance, the Bears came out on the short end of the stick in the championship match.
The first game of the tournament for Mercer was against the Lipscomb Bison. The Bears came out on top defeating the Bison 82-48.
Four players reached double figure scoring in the game led by junior Langston Hall’s double-double effort behind an impressive 12 points and 10 assists.
Junior center Monty Brown chipped in 11 points off the bench while the senior guard duo of Travis Smith and Chris Smith each added 10. Brown and Chris Smith’s 21 points off the bench led the way for Mercer’s reserves, who outscored Lipscomb’s bench by a 38-11 margin.
After the first-round win against the Bison, the Bears moved onto the semifinal to face the Spartans of USC Upstate. Mercer was able to pull out a 72-64 win in the late minutes of the game.
Junior guard Langston Hall scored the 1,000th point of his career and Bud Thomas tallied a career-high 20 points.
Thomas’ scoring output was powered by three-of-six shooting from long range and came in conjunction with six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Hall hit five-of-11 from beyond the arc en route to 18 points, four rebounds, six assists and a block.
After the win against the Spartans, the Bears moved onto the championship match to face the FGCU Eagles. Mercer was not on the winning side, losing their first game at home since last season.
Senior Travis Smith paced Mercer with 16 points in the loss while adding three rebounds, an assist and a steal. He was joined in double figures by juniors Jakob Gollon, Bud Thomas and Langston Hall. Gollon came up just shy of a double-double with 14 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a steal. Thomas collected 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal, while Hall also narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points, nine assists and six boards.
FGCU’s 88 points was the most allowed by the Mercer defense all year, as the Eagles posted 50-second half points to break away from a two-point game at halftime. In the end, five FGCU players scored double digits, led by sophomore point guard Brett Comer’s 21 points. Comer was later named the A-Sun tournament MVP.
Thomas and Hall gathered All-Tournament team selections after 14.3 and 14.0 points per game during the tournament, respectively. The honors marked first-time All-Tournament team selections for both players.
With the loss and after already securing the regular season championship, the Bears were invited to participate in the National Invitational Tournament.