After traveling to ranked Missouri, the Bears finished up the CBE Classic Macon subregional by going 2-1 at home, finishing 2-2.
Missouri 81, Mercer 63
The Mercer Bears traveled to Mizzou Arena in Columbia, MO to play the Tigers in their one away CBE Classic game. They lost by 18, and the Tigers had 14 steals against the young Bears team. After redshirting last year, Jibri Bryan came off the bench for the second game of his young career, leading the Bears with 19 points. Jakob Gollon had seven rebounds. Langston Hall had 11 points, seven assists, three steals, and one block. Speaking to ESPN, Bryan said “It felt great [scoring 19]. Really it started from the bench, encouraging everyone else. When you get in the game, you already feel like you’re in the game, so it just flowed right in to it.” As would be the case all season, the Bears are starting lone senior Justin Cecil alongside a host of sophomores and freshmen such as Bryan. Cecil had nine points, and Bud Thomas added three. The Bears would get within 10 points late, but that’s as far as the Bears would come. Coach Bob Hoffman was critical of the Bears’ play, saying “We didn’t adjust very quickly. They were more physical than us; we played too passive.” He would go on to praise the second half play, but it was not enough.
Mercer 60, SHSU 38
As most students began to leave campus for Thanksgiving Break, the Bears began home play in the CBE Macon sub-regional against the Sam Houston State Bearkats. This was one of the lowest scoring games, seeing the Bears lead 23-13 at the half, making just nine of their first 36 shots. Langston Hall scored 24, with 16 coming in the second half. He also had two three-pointers during a 12-0 run in the second half. However, the game wasn’t really close after a 17-1 run in the first half. Bud Thomas added eight boards and five assists, and Jakob Gollon had two steals. Daniel Coursey also had two blocks.
Mercer 74, Niagara 55
The Niagara Purple Eagles came to Macon for the CBE Classic and were sorely outmatched, falling to 1-3 after their 19 point loss at the hands of the Mercer Bears. Justin Cecil played like the senior he is, leading the Bears with 23 points. The Bears would lead by as many as 26 in a flat-out blowout of Niagara. Part of this was due to the game opening 14-2 run from Mercer, and part of this was due to Cecil hitting seven of his 11 shots from beyond the arc. The Bears outrebounded the Purple Eagles 40-27, and Jakob Gollon’s eight boards helped make this a reality. It was 43-19 at the half, but the Bears kept the intensity throughout the duration of the game. Coach Hoffman was very happy with the play of the Bears, saying, “I thought we came out strong in the first half. Then in the second half, Niagara came out and made a run at us. They are a good team and we expected that.” Unfortunately, Jibri Bryan more than likely endured a season-ending injury during the game.
SDSU 74, Mercer 61
The Bears were soundly beaten in the second half, and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits had a trio in double figures to win the final game of the CBE Classic. Nate Wolters had 16, Griffin Callahan had 13 and Chad White had 11 points for the Jackrabbits. Justin Cecil answered with 15 for the Bears, but it would not be enough. The Bears led 34-31 at the half, and they would lead 56-55 late. However, a 19-5 run outdid the Bears on their home floor. Chris Smith had six boards, and Jakob Gollon had five assists. Mercer also outrebounded their foes 35-30. The Bears were praised by their coach, and Hoffman was looking forward to seeing this current crop of Bears max out their potential.