MACON, Ga. (School Release) - The Mercer men's basketball team aims to exact a measure of revenge on Wednesday night as it hosts Florida Gulf Coast at Hawkins Arena. Game time for the Eagles and Bears is set for 7:30 p.m.
The last time Mercer and FGCU met on the hardwood came in the semifinal round of last season's Atlantic Sun Tournament. In that game, the No. 6 seeded Eagles pulled off the 62-58 upset over the No. 2 seeded Bears. Prior to that game, Mercer had enjoyed a 9-1 record against the Florida-based A-Sun foe.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
Florida Gulf Coast sits atop the A-Sun standings with a 9-5 (1-0 A-Sun) record. The Eagles are winners in three of their last four games, including a 68-59 win at Kennesaw State on Monday night.
FGCU boasts a stellar backcourt scoring duo in Sherwood Brown and Bernard Thompson. Both
Brown and Thompson are averaging 14.3 points per game, tying the tandem for sixth place among the league's scoring leaders. Wednesday's game pits the league's top offense against the league's top defense. The Eagles average an A-Sun best 71.0 points per game while Mercer is holding opponents to a league-best 55.4 points per game.
Brett Comer quarterbacks the Eagle offense, leading the conference and ranking 22nd nationally in assists per game (6.0). He's also reached double-figure scoring in five of the last six games.
FGCU returns all five starters from last year's team that went 15-17 (8-10 A-Sun). The Eagles were picked to finish third among A-Sun competition in a preseason poll of the league's coaches and media. The coaches' poll also identified Brown as a Preseason All-Conference selection.
Senior guard Travis Smith is the reigning A-Sun Player of the Week after torching Stetson for 25 points on Monday. His backcourt-mate Langston Hall has also earned an A-Sun POTW award this year (Dec.18).
Both Mercer and FGCU are receiving votes in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll. This year, the Bears have gotten as high as 14 in the poll.
This year, Mercer is 5-0 at home. The Bears are averaging 68.6 points per game at Hawkins Arena in comparison to 54.8 points per game on the road. The Bears have topped 70 points in four games this season, three of which were played at Hawkins Arena.
Mercer's 55.4 points per game allowed ranks 13th in the nation. If the season ended today, that figure would tie the record for best scoring defense in A-Sun history. The conference record is 55.4 PPG by College of Charleston during the 1997-98 season.