On a day in which the most successful senior class in Mercer men's basketball history was honored, the group reaffirmed their championship pedigree by clinching Atlantic Sun regular season co-championship honors with a 69-55 win over Jacksonville on Saturday at Hawkins Arena.
Mercer closed its season at 23-8 (14-4 A-Sun), tying Florida Gulf Coast for first place in the league standings. The Bears garnered the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Sun Tournament and will host No. 7 Jacksonville on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Senior Jakob Gollon led all scorers with 18 points in the win in the while his classmate Daniel Coursey booked his fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Langston Hall dished the 600th assist of his career on Saturday and moved into second place in Atlantic Sun history with 603 assists.
Mercer finished 14-4 in league play for the second-straight season to capture the program's third regular season A-Sun title. The Bears were also co-champions in 2003 and outright champs last season.
Mercer's 14 conference wins equaled last seasons' ledger for the most conference wins in program history. The Bears' 23 wins tied the 2002-03 edition of the Bears for most regular season victories.
Mercer's seven-member senior class was honored postgame prior to cutting down the nets at Hawkins Arena. Over the last four seasons, the team has posted an 89-49 overall record including three-straight 20-win seasons.
On Saturday, Mercer shot 53.6 percent (15-of-28) and forced 14 turnovers in the first half to stake a 32-21 lead at the break. Out of halftime, Mercer's lead swelled to 16 by the 15:43 mark of the second half and it appeared the Bears would run away with the victory.
Jacksonville had other thoughts, using an extended 20-7 run to get within a single bucket (53-51) with 5:48 to play. Senior Bud Thomas nailed a 3-pointer and then found Gollon for an easy layup as part of an 11-3 surge that got the hosts back in front by 11 with 1:29 to go. All 11 points during that stretch were scored by seniors.
Mercer swept the season series with Jacksonville for the first time since the 2005-06 season. The Dolphins completed their regular season at 12-16 (8-10 A-Sun) and will stay in Macon awaiting Tuesday night's A-Sun tournament first round matchup.
Entering Saturday, Mercer had started the same five seniors (Hall, Anthony White Jr., Thomas, Gollon and Coursey) for all 30 games of the season. On senior day, guard Kevin Canevari and center Monty Brown were inserted into the starting five.
Previously, Hall had started all 132 games of his career. Canevari's start was his first, while Brown took the floor as a starter for the 12th time.