MACON, Ga.- The Mercer men's basketball team steps out of conference play for the final time this season as the Bears visit Savannah State Monday night. Tip off is at 7 p.m. at Tiger Arena.
Mercer (6-16, 5-11 A-Sun) is coming off a one-point loss to Stetson Friday night. The Bears are looking to gain momentum for the Atlantic Sun postseason tournament that begins in less than three weeks.
"It's always tough to step out of conference and play on the road during the conference race," said Mercer head coach Mark Slonaker. "It'll be a challenge to play a much-improved Savannah State team. They are tough on their home court."
The contest marks the Bears' sixth game in 12 days. Mercer is coming off a disappointing four-game homestand that saw the Bears drop three-of-four conference games.
Junior guard Javon Randolph paces the Savannah State attack, averaging 16.8 points per game. The Gainesville, Ga., native was named the Division I men's basketball Independent Newcomer of the Week for the week ending Feb. 6. In two games against Georgia State and Stetson, he averaged 30 points, shot 67 percent on 23-of-34 shots from the field and shot a sizzling 61 percent from beyond the arc.
Bears' leading scorer Jacob Skogen has averaged 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists over the last four games, while senior guard Andrew Brown is averaging 17.5 points a game and is collecting an impressive average of 6.0 rebounds a game over the same span. Senior Will Emerson, who is 39 points away from joining Mercer's 1,000-point club, is averaging 10.8 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds on the season.
Slonaker began the series with the Tigers during the 2000-01 campaign, with the Bears claiming each of the six contests in the overall series.
Mercer swept last season's series, winning the first game, 98-81, in Savannah on Dec. 30, 2004, and 94-62 in Macon, Feb. 8.
The Bears claimed an 88-63 victory in their home opener earlier this season.