MACON, Ga.- The visiting Lipscomb Bisons combined lethal outside shooting and a strong inside game to down Mercer, 83-66, in Atlantic Sun men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon at the University Center.
Shooting woes from the charity stripe also contributed to the Bears’ downfall as Mercer (5-15, 4-10 A-Sun) hit only five-of-13 free throws in the opening half and finished the game with a season-low 46.7 percent on 14-of-30 from the line.
“We knew we had to play our best to beat Lipscomb,” said Mercer head coach Mark Slonaker. “But poor free throw shooting and shot selection really hurt us. Lipscomb is a quality team.”
Reigning A-Sun Player-of-the-Week Brian Fisk picked up two personal fouls inside the opening minute of play but teammate Eddie Ard picked up the slack, scoring 18 first-half points. Mercer picked up a free throw and an inside bucket by Sam Dolan to take an early 3-2 lead but Lipscomb edged out to a six-point lead with just over 12 minutes left in the opening half.The Bears answered with a 9-2 run over the next three minutes, powered by junior guard Jacob Skogen’s seven points, as Mercer took its last lead of the contest at 21-20 with 9:24 remaining in the half.
Lipscomb (14-7, 10-3 A-Sun) then built a 19-point cushion at the 1:11 mark as Ard hit shots from the outside and Shaun Durant powered his way inside.
Trailing 46-32 coming out of intermission, the Bears chipped away, eventually cutting the deficit to eight with over 14 minutes left in the game as senior Andrew Brown dropped in two fast-break baskets and a 3-pointer and Dolan added four points. With momentum on their side, the Bears missed an opportunity to capitalize just moments later as the Bisons’ Ard picked up a personal foul on a rebound attempt, then was whistled for a technical foul for slamming the ball to the court. But Brown hit one of the two free throws resulting from the technical, and Dolan was unable to convert either of his two shots from the charity stripe.
“They built a lead and we made a couple of runs but couldn’t quite finish it,” added Slonaker.
The Bisons then built an 18-point cushion over the next three minutes and Mercer could get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Brown scored a team-high 14 points for Mercer with Skogen adding 12 points and Dolan chipping in 11. Senior Will Emerson scored seven points and collected a team-high six rebounds.
Ard tossed in a game-high 23 points, while Fisk scored 16 points despite his early foul trouble. Durant notched 1 points and collected a game-high nine rebounds.
The Bears return to action Tuesday night as Florida Atlantic visits the University Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off.