MACON, Ga. (School Release)- The Mercer men's basketball team continued its trend of home court dominance on Friday night, downing Kennesaw State by a 66-42 margin in Atlantic Sun action at Hawkins Arena. The Bears' win sent the team to 14-9 (7-3 A-Sun) and extended the squad's home winning streak to 11.
Senior Travis Smith scored a game-high 18 points while juniors Jakob Gollon and Anthony White Jr. contributed 13 and 10 points, respectively. Kennesaw State failed to place a player in double-figure scoring while falling to 2-20 (1-9 A-Sun) on the season.
Friday night's win was the seventh time this season Mercer has held an opponent under 50 points, the most since the 1947-48 edition of the Bears accomplished the feat 13 teams. The win also pushed the team's home record to 9-0, its best start at home since the 1973-74 team went 13-0 at home.
Smith led the team offensively for the eighth time in the last 10 outings, scoring 18 on six-of-nine shooting from the field. He also registered three assists, a block and a pair of rebounds in the winning effort.
Gollon collected 13 points on four-of-six aim from the field while adding seven rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals. White Jr.'s 10 points off the bench were earned in just 11 minutes of work and came in conjunction with a rebound and a steal.
Midway through the first half, the Bears were clinging to a slim 11-10 lead when junior Monty Brown scored lay-ups on back-to-back possessions to spark a 12-3 Mercer charge. The surge was capped by an old-fashioned three-point play for Smith that placed the Bears in front 23-13 with 6:35 left in the half.
Late in the half, two blocks on the defensive end led to run-outs for Smith and Gollon, the last of which saw Gollon cram a dunk in front of the student section. His slam brought the crowd to its feet and pushed Mercer's lead to 12. Another Kennesaw State turnover saw Mercer go up by 14, but the Owls scored the final basket of the period to go into half trailing 29-17.
The Bears opened the second half on an 8-1 charge and never looked back en route to the win. Mercer's lead would grow to as many as 26 as the team shot 11-of-20 (55%) from the floor in the final 20 minutes.
Mercer tallied 19 assists on its 23 baskets in comparison with just nine turnovers. The hosts also collected a season-high seven blocks in the win. Brown joined Gollon with two rejections while Daniel Coursey, Langston Hall and Smith each had one.
When all was said and done, Mercer held advantages in points in the paint (36-20), points off turnovers (13-6), fast break points (10-4) and bench scoring (18-13).
Mercer continues its three-game homestand on February 7, meeting Jacksonville at 7 p.m.