MACON, Ga.- The Mercer men's basketball team enters the second half of its Atlantic Sun conference schedule looking to build momentum as the Bears pay a visit to league-leading Kennesaw State for the first time Saturday night, with tip off scheduled for 7 p.m. in the KSU Convocation Center. Game Notes (pdf)
The Bears are coming off their first road victory of the season, an 82-81 overtime win past Stetson that also snapped the Bears' five-game winless streak. In the first-ever meeting between Mercer and Kennesaw State just nine days ago, the Owls handed Mercer its first home loss of the season, 63-57.
"It will be a tough challenge to play the number one team on their home court," said Mercer head coach Mark Slonaker. "We want to go in and build on the momentum off the road win at Stetson. The last meeting against Kennesaw State was a hard-fought game and we expect nothing less on Saturday."
Freshman guard Montavious Waters, who missed the first meeting with Kennesaw State, is expected to see playing time in this rematch. Kennesaw State will be without the services of guard Ronell Wooten, who was ejected during the Owls' loss to East Tennessee State Wednesday night. The loss was the second conference setback for Kennesaw State, snapping a string of seven straight wins.
The Owls have been tough at home this season, dropping only two games - a two-point decision to St. Paul and a 73-67 loss to Florida Atlantic on Jan. 2. Kennesaw State ranks first in the conference in 3-point field goal defense, holding opponents to 31.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc, and is second in steals, averaging 9.65 thefts a game. Junior guard Golden Ingle ranks third in the conference in scoring with 18.5 points and is also third in the league in assists, handing out 5.75 assists per game. Brent Ragsdale drops in 11.3 points a game and freshman Andre Morgan chips in with 10.9 points a game.
The Bears featured a balanced attack in the win over Stetson with five players reaching double figures. Junior guard Ross Alacqua led the way with a season-high 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc and a perfect six-of-six from the charity stripe. Will Emerson and Jacob Skogen added 14 apiece, while Sam Dolan notched a career-high 14 points. Emerson also pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds.
Skogen paces the Bears' attack, averaging 15.7 points a game. Senior guard Andrew Brown posts 12.8 points a game while Emerson adds 10.8 points and a team-leading 6.6 rebounds. Over the last three games, Emerson is averaging a double-double, with 12.3 points and 10.7 rebounds. Since becoming a starter, sophomore Sam Dolan is averaging 10.2 points on the strength of 57.1 percent shooting from the field. He's also averaging 5.2 rebounds and two blocks in his five starts.