JACKSONVILLE, Fla.(School Release) - The Mercer men's basketball team battled to erase a 12-point deficit on Saturday afternoon before falling to Jacksonville by a 49-47 margin at Veterans Memorial Arena. Junior guard Langston Hall scored a team-high 11 points in the loss.
The Mercer saw a two-game winning streak and end fell to 10-8 (3-2 A-Sun) while Jacksonville won its second-straight game and moved to 9-10 (4-2 A-Sun).
Hall's team-leading 11 points combined with two rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal for the Atlanta native. His classmate Anthony White, Jr. added nine points on three-of-three shooting from long distance.
After falling behind by as many as 12 in the first half, the Bears found themselves trailing by nine (32-23) at halftime. At the outset of the second period, Jacksonville had reassumed an 11 point lead when Mercer began a scintillating 18-3 run that elapsed exactly nine minutes of game time.
Mercer's charge featured a deep three from White Jr. that gave the Bears their first lead in nearly 28 minutes of game time at the 9:25 juncture. With 7:06 left, junior Bud Thomas drilled a three from the corner to complete the surge and place the Bears up, 43-39.
Jacksonville bounced back and regained a four-point advantage before jumpers by Hall and Thomas down stretch knotted matters at 47-47 with 1:36 to play.
With 1:07 to play, Jacksonville's Jarvis Haywood scored a layup that would later prove to be the game winning tally. Mercer's responding possession found junior Jakob Gollon open for a three pointer that wouldn't go down and Jacksonville came away with the ball. On the other end, Hall forced a turnover that gave the Bears back possession, trailing by two, with 13 seconds left.
Mercer junior Travis Smith moved through traffic and found space on the baseline for a fade-away jumper, but his shot was off the mark. A handful of players battled for the rebound and Mercer got two good looks at put-back scores before the ball went out with half a second remaining. The game ended as the ensuing inbounds pass was deflected.
Eight of Hall's 11 points came in the second half as the Bears outscored the Dolphins 24-17 in the period. The Bears also forced the Dolphins into 12 second-half turnovers without surrendering a three pointer.
In the beginning, Mercer was up 5-3 before Jacksonville scored eight-straight to go on top 11-5 at the first media break. Midway through the half, Mercer was behind by a single point before Jacksonville drained back-to-back threes to assume a 21-14 lead.
Jacksonville's early lead could be partially attributed to long-range shooting as the Dolphins hit their five of their first six triples. The Dolphins also used trademark full-court pressure to produce nine turnovers and a 14-4 lead in points off turnovers at halftime.
The Bears return to Atlantic Sun play on Thursday, hosting East Tennessee State. Game time at Hawkins Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.