JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (School Release) - The Mercer women's basketball team parlayed a career effort by senior Ry'van Buchanan into an impressive 72-68 come-from-behind win over Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Arena.
Mercer (8-7, 2-2 A-Sun) was down by as many as nine points in the second half before rallying late and using a go-ahead jumper by Buchanan with just 40 seconds left in regulation to come away with the win.
The victory was Mercer's first road win over Jacksonville since 2006 and equals the 1999-2000 squad for the latest in the season Mercer has had a .500 winning percentage or better.
Buchanan netted 32 points, the most by a Bear this season, on a remarkable 13-of-15 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 showing from three-point territory. Sophomore Precious Bridges was not far behind tallying 22 points, her fifth 20-plus showing of the campaign, to go along with two assists and two steals.
The Bears started quickly, using 12 early points by Bridges to take a 14-9 lead with 13:52 remaining in the first half.
With the Dolphins cutting into the Mercer lead, Buchanan drained back-to-back three-pointers to put the Bears in front 22-17 with 10:06 left in the first half.
Despite the Orange and Black's hot shooting, Jacksonville stayed within striking distance and eventually took a one-point lead at 29-28, after a fast break lay-in by junior Stephanie Edwards, with 4:01 left in the first stanza.
The Dolphins added to their advantage thanks to a trifecta by freshman Briona Brown just before halftime to make the score 40-35 entering the intermission.
Mercer's 35 first half points were the second-most it has scored in the first half this season, but Jacksonville countered by shooting 48 percent from the field in the first stanza to take the lead in the high-scoring affair.
Both teams continued to score at a high rate to begin the second half, with Buchanan scoring six early points to keep the Dolphins lead at five, 52-47, with 13:31 still remaining in the second half.
The squads kept trading baskets throughout the middle of the second half, with a pair of free throws by Bridges making the score 61-56 with just 6:20 left in the contest.
An old-fashion three-point play by junior Kendra Grant made it just a one possession game, at 63-60, with 5:04 to go in the game.
The Bears kept pushing and pushing and eventually took their first lead since the first half when a jumper by Buchanan put Mercer ahead 68-67 with 2:13 left in the contest.
After Buchanan's clutch late jumper Bridges and junior Sharnea Boykin each hit a free throw to secure the four-point win.
Sophomore Teanna Robinson collected a game-high 14 rebounds while Boykin handed out a career-high 12 assists in the win.
Mercer continues its two-game trip in Jacksonville when it takes on North Florida on January 14. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at UNF Arena.