Wednesday Night Hoops: Mercer Owns BCS Conference Teams Edition
BCS Conference Teams Need to Stop Scheduling Mercer Right Now
Mercer 78, Auburn 74
Let's take a look at the Bears' best wins from 2007-2008.
First up, they knock off USC in a huge upset. Best win after that, probably Jacksonville. This year? Mercer knocks off two SEC schools in two games (Alabama and Auburn). Mercer still has Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, and UCLA on the schedule, so the potential for upsets is there.
As for this game, the Bears grabbed the lead with 17 minutes to play in the first half and never looked back. Mercer led this game by as many 11 points. James Florence led the team with 25 points but did turn the ball over eight times.
Game of the Night
Kent St. 76, Saint Louis 74 (OT)
The reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year showed America why he deserved that honor against the Billikens. Al Fisher dropped 35 points, including the game-winning lay-up in overtime with just 2.1 seconds left on the clock. Fisher didn't miss a single shot in the extra period.
Kent State needs to win as many games in the non-conference as possible to give itself insurance in March if the Golden Flashes falter in the MAC Tournament.
Department of Mid-Majors Making a Run at the Big Boys
(25) Wake Forest 120, UNC-Wilmington 88
Wake Forest jumped out to a big lead while scoring 61 points in the first half, but UNC-Wilmington went on a 16-8 run to open the half to draw within nine. Dino Gaudio's squad wanted no more over the Seahawks and went off the rest of the game. A 51-28 run to end the game buried Wilmington.
The sophomore duo of guard Jeff Teague and forward James Johnson combined for 56 points in just 53 minutes between the two. Super freshman Al-Farouq Aminu struggled early but eventually ended up with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
(23) Villanova 77, Niagara 62
The Wildcats jumped out a 27-14 lead but quickly saw it slip away to only a four-point advantage at 30-26. The Purple Eagles' momentum stopped in its tracks when a questionable blocking call resulted in two free throws and then a technical foul on the Niagara bench. 'Nova jumped ahead by eight points, but again blew its lead.
Niagara got within two in the second half and forced Jay Wright's frontline to the bench because of foul trouble. Dante Cunningham, Antonio Pena, and Shane Clark all fouled out.
Scottie Reynolds led four Wildcats in double figures with 19 points. Former Villanova hoopster Bilal Benn struggled for Niagara, scoring 11 points on 3-10 shooting.
(7) Michigan State 70, Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne 59
The Spartans went on the road to IPFW and got a very tough game from the Mastodons. IPFW held a lead as late as 10 minutes left, but MSU went on a 27-15 run to end the game. Tom Izzo didn't really get much contribution from anyone outside of Raymar Morgan (22 points) and Kalin Lucas (17 points).
On the opposite bench, IPFW got 22 points from its leading scorer Ben Botts and 17 from its second leading scorer, David Carson.
Department of Had to Have This Game
Virginia 77, South Florida 75
Both of these programs, which are heading in opposite directions, needed this game. Virginia has been falling off the past two years, and without Sean Singletary, who's playing professional ball now, is projected to finish last in the conference.
South Florida, on the other hand, is trying to move up in the Big East behind coach Stan Heath. The Bulls are also projected to finish near the bottom of the conference, so a win against an ACC team would help improve the reputation of the program.
But it was the ACC team that would prevail Wednesday night. After scoring 28 points to help knock off Kentucky-slayer VMI, Sylven Landesberg dropped another 21 on USF in the win.
American University 65, Howard 63
The Eagles went to the NCAA Tournament last year and have high hopes again for 2009. After losing badly to Oklahoma, American needs to continue to win games to help improve its seeding come March, if it wins the Patriot League. There's a significant difference in the odds of a first round upset for 14 and 15 seeds.
One of the nation's best shooters showed off his range against Howard. Garrison Carr scored 29 points and connected on seven three-pointers in the win.
Players of the Night
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
The super sophomore had one of the best nights of his fairly short career in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacon guard had 31 points on 10-17 shooting from the field, 9-12 from the free throw line, and 2-2 from three. Teague also threw in five rebounds and five steals.
Al Fisher, Kent State
The Golden Flash guard put up 35 points on highly efficient shooting (15-28 from the field and 3-4 from the line). Fisher also hit the game-winning shot in overtime and added five steals to boot.
Look Ahead to Today's Action—Games of the Day
(12) Memphis vs. Chattanooga, 4:30 on ESPN2, O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Tyreke Evans and the rest of Memphis' guards will be ready to blow Chattanooga out of the water like Tennessee did a few days ago.
(20) USC vs. Seton Hall, 7:00 on ESPNU, O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off
This will be the first opportunity to see not only stud freshman DeMar DeRozan, but also Lil' Romeo Miller in action on the national stage.
(5) Duke vs. Southern Illinois, 7:00 on ESPN2, Coaches vs. Cancer Semifinal
The first of two semifinals on the night in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament. The up-tempo style Duke play will tip-off against the agonizingly slow, defensive style that the Salukis are most known for.
(4) UCLA vs. Michigan, 9:00 on ESPN2, Coaches vs. Cancer Semifinal
The Baby Bruins Fab Five goes against the school that had the original Fab Five. Manny Harris will try to slow down Darren Collison and the rest of UCLA attack. UCLA and Duke are likely to meet in the final Saturday, making for the first game between two top 10 teams in the country this year.
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