MACON, Ga.- Mercer plays host to Stetson in the renewal of the oldest rivalry in school history on Homecoming weekend for the Bears Tip-off Friday night will be 7:30 p.m. in the University Center. Game Notes (pdf)
In a setting very similar to last season's meeting in Macon, the game has again been chosen as the A-Sun/CSS Game of the Week and, once again, both teams are battling for a spot in the Atlantic Sun Conference post-season tournament.
The Bears claimed an 82-81 overtime victory earlier this season in DeLand. Junior guard Ross Alacqua came off the bench to lead the Bears with 18 points, hitting four three-pointers and going a perfect six-of-six from the line. Forward Will Emerson notched his fourth double-double of the season as he poured in 14 points to go along with 14 boards.
Mercer (6-15, 5-10 A-Sun) has won four straight and six of the last seven contests with the Hatters and swept last season's regular-season series, winning the conference opener, 89-76, in DeLand, Fla., Dec. 2, and 74-73 in Macon, Feb. 25.
Stetson (6-17, 5-9 A-Sun) started the 2005-06 campaign slowly, dropping 16 of its first 18 contests, but since falling to the Bears in overtime on Jan. 24, the Hatters have won four out of their last five games, including an impressive 74-71 win in overtime on the road over current league-leader East Tennessee State. In its most recent outing, Stetson knocked off Lipscomb, 85-67, toppling the Bisons from the top spot in the conference.
"We're continuing the rivalry and we look forward to being on television," said Mercer head coach Mark Slonaker. "The last couple of times we have played Stetson it has been an extremely exciting game. They are playing as well as anyone in the league right now."
The Hatters rank 11th in the conference in scoring, at 65.4 points per game, but are second in the A-Sun defensively, holding opponents to 71.3 points a contest. Stetson also boasts the league's second-best shooting percentage from the charity stripe (74.9 percent). The duo of seniors E. J. Gordon (14.5 ppg) and Anthony Register (13.7 ppg.) rank 18th and 19th, respectively, in scoring in the A-Sun.
Guard Jacob Skogen continues to pace the Mercer attack, averaging 15.8 points per game, while averaging 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists over the last four contests. Senior guard Andrew Brown adds 13.2 points and has averaged an impressive 6.5 rebounds over Mercer's last four games. Senior Will Emerson notched 17 points in the upset over Florida Atlantic on the strength of seven-of-nine shooting from the field.
"Hopefully, we can carry over a little of the momentum from beating FAU because we know it will be a great basketball game," added Slonaker.