Basketball Teams Enter Heart of Conference Schedules

After traveling cross-country and out of the country, the men’s and women’s basketball teams have completed non-conference play and now turn their attention to Atlantic Sun competition for the remainder of the season.

Coach Bob Hoffman’s men have logged some 9,200 miles as they completed one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country. As the long holiday break between semesters began, the Bears traveled to Stillwater, Okla., on Dec. 17, dropping a 104-74 decision to Oklahoma State. After being delayed by a day at the Oklahoma City airport by fog, the team continued its cross-country trek to Los Angeles, where it split games, losing to powerhouse UCLA in Pauley Pavilion, 76-59, and defeating Loyola Marymount, 75-52.

On New Year’s Eve, the Bears arrived in Ames, Iowa, and fell to the Iowa State Cyclones, 67-49. Mercer continued on to Buies Creek, N.C., where the men dropped a 72-57 decision to A-Sun foe Campbell on Jan. 3.

With a 7-7 overall record, and 1-2 in conference play, the Bears complete a seven-game road swing this weekend, taking on Jacksonville Friday in the A-Sun Game of the Week, televised by Comcast across the Southeast, and then moving across town to play the University of North Florida on Sunday afternoon. They return home on Friday, Jan. 16, hosting Florida Gulf Coast.

Coach Janell Jones’ team ended the holidays at 6-6 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The Bears traveled to the Bahamas in mid-December, where they split two games, defeating Florida Atlantic, 74-68, and losing to East Carolina, 61-57. The team closed out 2008 with a trip to Wichita State, losing 71-59. As part of a double-header with the men, the women dropped a close 56-50 conference game to Campbell on Jan. 3.

The women will also travel to Jacksonville this week, taking on the Dolphins in Swisher Gym Thursday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. and then the University of North Florida Ospreys Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. They will return home on Jan. 15, also against Florida Gulf Coast.

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