The Mercer men’s basketball program hadn’t lost a non-conference home game since 2011.
But a pair of 13-point runs by Dartmouth -- one in each half -- took care of that streak Tuesday night.
Mercer’s 67-51 loss was its first non-conference home defeat since losing to North Dakota State on Nov. 23, 2011.
Dartmouth trailed early 10-4 but responded with its first 13-0 run to take control of the game midway through the first half. The second 13-0 run came late in the second half after Mercer cut the Dartmouth lead to 10, and that spurt put the game away.
“We just got a little complacent,” Mercer junior Ike Nwamu said. “We needed to be sharper with the small details, cutting hard on defense, being in the right place defensively. We’ll go back to the drawing board and get ready the next game.
“We just weren’t ready to play (Tuesday) at all.”
After starting strong, the Bears (5-5) struggled to find their touch, shooting just 38.3 percent from the floor (18-of-47), including 38.9 percent (7-of-18) on 3-pointers. Dartmouth, meanwhile, was strong throughout, hitting 24-of-49 (49.0 percent), including 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) on 3-pointers.
The Big Green (4-5) also controlled the game on the inside, outscoring the Bears 24-12 in the paint.
“We got outcoached the entire night,” Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman said. “He’s a very good coach, and they understood what they were trying to do better than we did, and that’s my fault. They’re a really, really good team, and we made them a great team (Tuesday).
“Every time we got into it, they’d hit a big 3. And we couldn’t string together multiple baskets, and that led to the separation they got to get to the W.”
Nwamu led the Bears with 13 points, while Jordan Strawberry came off the bench to score 11.
Dartmouth had four players in double figures. Alex Mitola and Miles Wright led the way with 14 each, while Connor Boehm had 13, and Kevin Crescenzi had 12.
Wright and Crescenzi sparked the Big Green off the bench. Wright scored all of his points in the first half, while Crescenzi had all of his in the second half.
“I didn’t do a good job of getting us ready (Tuesday night),” Hoffman said. “We have won a lot of games in this building, but they’re a really good team, and they got the better of us.
“They basically did to us what we try to do to people with their defensive principles and how they played.”