MACON, Ga. (School Release)- As the calendar year comes to a close, the Mercer men's basketball team will open its Atlantic Sun Conference schedule against Stetson at Hawkins Arena on Monday afternoon. Game time is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
The Bears are winners in three of their last four games and look to remain unbeaten at home this season. As two founding members of the Atlantic Sun Conference, Mercer and Stetson are familiar foes on the hardwood. Stetson leads the all-time series, 69-52, but Mercer has won each of the last three meetings. Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman also sports a favorable 6-2 record against the Hatters.
SCOUTING THE HATTERS
Stetson begins its conference schedule with a 3-8 record after falling to UCF, 83-66 on December 20. After starting out 2-1, the Hatters are 1-7 in their last eight games.
Stetson features a balanced scoring attack with four playing averaging double-figure scoring. Senior center Adam Pegg leads the team at 14.6 points per game, while junior guard Chris Perez is close behind at 13.6 points per outing. Junior guard Aaron Graham and senior Joel Narburgs average 13.1 and 10.0 points per game, respectively.
Monday's game pits Mercer's top-ranked conference defense against a potent Stetson offense. The Hatters average 70.0 points per outing, ranking second among league squads. Mercer and Stetson also rank one and two, respectively, among A-Sun teams in free throw shooting percentage.
Stetson returns all five starters from last year's team that finished 6-12 in A-Sun play. The Hatters were picked to finish sixth among A-Sun competition in a preseason poll of the league's coaches and media. Pegg was named a preseason All-Conference player by the coaches.
Junior center Daniel Coursey scored a career-high 20 points in Mercer's last outing at Alabama. During the win, Coursey eclipsed both the 400 point and 200 rebound marks of his career. He has now led the Bears in scoring three times this season, and the team is 2-1 in those games.
Mercer is currently holding its opponents to 54.8 points/game, which would rank as the best scoring defense in A-Sun history. The conference record is 55.4 PPG by College of Charleston during the 1997-98 season.
Head coach Bob Hoffman is only six wins away from his 400th victory as a collegiate men's basketball head coach. The only A-Sun coach with more is USC Upstate's Eddie Payne (405).
Mercer has recorded assists on 64.4% of its baskets this season, ranking 14th in the country in the category. Northwestern leads the nation in assisted basket percentage at 74.3%.