ATHENS, Ga. - The Mercer men's basketball team's bid for three-straight wins was denied by Georgia on Tuesday afternoon in 58-49 loss at Stegeman Coliseum. Junior guard Anthony White, Jr. led Mercer with nine points in only 10 minutes of work.
Mercer dropped to 6-6 with the loss while Georgia snapped a three-game slide and moved to 3-7.
"In general it was a very physical game," Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman said. "Our guys hung in there and we had opportunities. It was a fight until the end, but we just didn't make enough shots."
Mercer scored the first seven points of the second half to erase a 26-20 halftime deficit, but Georgia came right back with its own 7-0 surge to reclaim a six point lead (33-27) at the 13:49 juncture.
Mercer cut its deficit to three at three different points from then on, but each time the Bears got within three the Bulldogs responded with quick buckets on the next possession. In the final three minutes, the Bulldogs converted five-of-seven free throws to secure the win.
White Jr.'s nine points came on two-of-three shooting from the floor and perfect four-of-four aim from the free throw stripe. His sharp shooting from beyond the arc was uncharacteristic for the Bears on Tuesday, as the team finished the game just six-of-26 (23.1%) from downtown.
Georgia, on the other hand, booked a season-high 58.3% (7-of-12) figure from three-point range. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kenny Gaines and Sherrard Brantley all registered two three pointers on the afternoon.
Mercer got solid production in the front court, as junior centers Daniel Coursey and Monty Brown combined for 15 points and eight rebounds. Coursey added two blocks to his eight-point, five-rebound stat line while Brown was five-of-six from the free throw stripe.
Despite early offensive struggles, the Bears went back-and-forth with Georgia by limiting the Bulldogs to just one-of-five aim from the field and four turnovers in the opening five minutes. T.J. Hallice gave the Bears their first lead at the 16:46 juncture, cutting to the hole for a contested layup and a 4-2 Mercer advantage.
Georgia broke away from a 15-15 tie with five-straight points before earning the 26-20 halftime edge. In all, the first half featured five ties and four lead changes.
"At the end of the day, what we've got to do is grow," Hoffman said. "I know we can get it done in the end."
Mercer wraps up its three-game road stretch with the final non-conference game of the regular season against Alabama on December 22. Game time in Tuscaloosa is scheduled for 2 p.m.