DELAND, Fla. (School Release)- The Mercer men's basketball team will play for an outright Atlantic Sun regular season championship on Saturday, one decade and one day removed from the last time the team accomplished the feat. Standing in the way of the Bears and the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament is Stetson, who will host the Bears in a 3:15 p.m. tipoff at the Edmunds Center.
Stetson sports a 14-14 (11-6 A-Sun) record and aims to extend a four-game winning streak on Saturday. The Hatters will play for pride on Senior Day at the Edmunds Center, as the team is locked in the No. 3 seed for next week's Atlantic Sun Tournament.
Stetson runs a high-octane offensive style, ranking second among league teams at 71.1 points per game. The Hatters get a considerable portion of that production from beyond the arc as they lead the conference in three-point shooting percentage (35.7%).
The Hatters' offense works primarily through the inside-outside combo of junior guard Chris Perez and senior center Adam Pegg. Pegg is sixth in the league at 15.7 points per game while Perez is seventh at 15.5 points per game.
Stetson is 7-1 in its last eight games at home and will honor four seniors before Saturday's tip. Pegg will join classmates Joel Narburgs, Liam McInerney and JR Weston in the pregame ceremonies.
Mercer has captured at least a share of the A-Sun regular season title and can secure the title outright with a win on Saturday. The last time Mercer won the A-Sun regular season championship was in the 2002-03 season, when the Bears clinched the title with a win over Stetson on March 1, 2003.
A Mercer loss combined with a Florida Gulf Coast win over Kennesaw State would make the Bears and Eagles regular season co-champions.
As two founding members of the Atlantic Sun Conference, Mercer and Stetson are familiar foes on the hardwood. Stetson leads the all-time series, 69-53. Mercer has won each of the last four meetings, and head coach Bob Hoffman sports a 7-2 record against the Hatters.
Daniel Coursey scored the 500th point of his career on Thursday night while posting his first career double-double. He paired 14 points with a career-best 10 rebounds against the Eagles to join Jakob Gollon and Langston Hall as Mercer players with double-double performances this season.
Mercer is currently holding its opponents to 57.1 points/game, which would rank third among the best scoring defenses in A-Sun history. The conference record is 55.4 PPG by College of Charleston during the 1997-98 season. There hasn't been a team to finish the year with less than 60 PPG allowed in the last 14 seasons.