A-Sun men’s hoops in typical logjam already

mlough@macon.comJanuary 7, 2014 

MercerBball

Mercer forward Darious Moten (22) puts up a shot over ETSU forward Hunter Harris (20) during their game Monday night.

JASON VORHEES — jvorhees@macon.com Buy Photo

A week of A-Sun men’s basketball play is in the books, and things are as tight as usual.

The surprise so far happened Monday night when reeling Kennesaw State -- with its head coach on a leave of absence that might be a precursor to a personnel move -- stunned USC Upstate 68-58.

USC Upstate was the consensus preseason pick to finish third in the conference and Kennesaw State the consensus pick for last. And the Spartans were coming off a 62-60 overtime loss on Saturday at Mercer.

Florida Gulf Coast is 3-0, followed by 3-1 Mercer, North Florida and Northern Kentucky with Jacksonville at 2-2.

Mercer (12-5), Florida Gulf Coast (9-7), North Florida (9-8) and East Tennessee State (8-7) are the lone teams with winning overall records.

The big meeting of the week is Thursday when North Florida hosts Florida Gulf Coast, although Kennesaw State certainly got Mercer’s attention with the upset of USC Upstate, adding some juice to the Owls-Bears meeting Friday night at Hawkins Arena in the conference game of the week.

The highly anticipated showdown between the two favorites is 15 days away when Florida Gulf Coast visits Mercer.

Honor roll

Anna Claire Knight had a good week to start the new year.

The former Trinity Christian standout racked up a triple-double Monday in Georgia Southern’s 64-61 win at Samford and was named the Southern Conference player of the week a day later.

Knight had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to help Georgia Southern win at Samford for the first time since 2007 and break a four-game losing streak this season.

Knight leads the Eagles with 14.9 points per game and is fourth with 4.6 rebounds. Georgia Southern is 4-11 overall and 2-2 in the Southern Conference.

Around Mercer/A-Sun

Pete Rose’s visit to Mercer is less than a month away, and tickets are still available.

The legendary player and manager will be the guest speaker at Mercer’s sixth annual “First Pitch Classic” dinner and banquet.

It is Feb. 4 at Mercer’s Hawkins Arena.

The dinner begins at 7 p.m. on the main arena floor, preceded by an autograph session in the Presidents Dining Room starting at 5:30 p.m. All proceeds from the event benefit the Mercer baseball program.

Tickets for the autograph session and dinner are sold as separate events. Tickets for the autograph session are $75 per person and are limited to the first 150 participants, while tickets for the dinner are $100 per person.

Contact Mercer assistant baseball coach Jake Long at 301-2738 or email firstpitchclassic@mercer.edu for more information.

Around Fort Valley State/SIAC

Linebacker LeRon Furr and defensive back Thomas Wolfe III of Fort Valley State were named to the AP Little All-America football second team last month.

Alumni update

Former FVSU receiver Ricardo Lockette has toured the country this NFL season.

He was released by San Francisco in late August -- despite a good camp -- and then picked up by Chicago. He was with the Bears for a little more than a month before being let go.

Seattle, which signed him out of FVSU, quickly snagged him again, in October, and he has five catches for 82 yards, passing his career total of two catches (for 105 yards and a touchdown in 2011).

The NFC West champions finished 13-3 and host New Orleans on Saturday afternoon in a divisional playoff game.

He certainly has not forgotten his days at FVSU. The background picture on his Twitter page is of him in his Wildcats’ uniform during a game.

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