It appeared that Mercer was hungry to erase the disappointment of losing to Lipscomb in front of a nearly sold out crowd last season when the Bears took a 45-38 lead into halftime. However, the Bison proved why they’re the team to beat in the Atlantic Sun with a come-from-behind 98-89 win in front of 2,000-plus fans in the University Center.
After a 40 point game on the road against Georgia Tech, senior guard James Florence got off to another hot start with 21 points in the first half and 32 for the night. Despite being the leader scorer for the night, Florence would be the Bears’ only big scoring threat as Jordan Burgason (31 points), Adnan Hodzic (25 points, 9 rebounds), and Josh Slater (24 points) would help Lipscomb pull away from Mercer in the second half.
“The great thing for us is it’s not the last game of the season,” said head coach Bob Hoffman after the game on MercerBears.com. “We have to get ready to go again.”
While the game was a tale of two halves, it certainly included an ESPN-worthy highlight reel. Early in the contest, Mercer blitzed Lipscomb with a 9-0 run to regain the lead, capped by a James Florence dunk in the middle of the lane through three Bison defenders. It was a thunderous dunk that brought the entire University Center to their feet for applause.
Late in the game, Mercer battled to cut the Lipscomb lead to four points with a Brian Mills sky-high dunk, but eventually Mercer couldn’t stop Lipscomb’s free throw shooting down the stretch as the Bison grabbed their first conference win of the season.
Mercer’s Jeff Smith put up a career high 16 points and nine rebounds on the night as Daniel Emerson added in 13 points while battling Hodzic in the paint for most of the night. The loss drops Mercer (3-4, 0-1) in the conference standings while the game was a much needed win for Lipscomb (2-4, 1-0).