Mercer’s shooting woes were obvious Thursday night, but head coach Bob Hoffman focused more on the Bears’ defense.
Mercer dropped to 14-12 overall and 9-4 in Southern Conference play with a 58-54 loss to Western Carolina. The Catamounts swept the season series after winning 60-52 last month.
The Bears look to bounce back Saturday against UNC Greensboro.
“We have to guard the 3-point shot better because the guys coming in Saturday can shoot it just as well as Western,” Hoffman said. “Our team defense is not where it needs to be for us to be the kind of team we want to be to win a championship, and that’s something we’ll have to get better at before Saturday.”
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Western Carolina hit 11 3-pointers (the Bears made three) and really got going after Mercer took a 47-46 lead. The Catamounts (13-13, 8-6 Southern Conference) hit three 3-pointers to go on a 9-1 run to gain control of the game and hand Mercer its second home loss of the season.
UNC Greensboro lost 65-62 to East Tennessee State on Thursday to fall to 8-18 overall and 4-9 in conference play.
“We have to go harder and pay closer attention to detail,” junior Jibri Bryan said. “It’s the older guys’ job -- me and T.J. (Hallice) and Darious (Moten) -- all our jobs to get the younger guys back in here and working and listening to the coaches and what they want us to do.”
Much of the Bears’ work likely will focus on rediscovering their shooting touch. Mercer shot just 38.3 percent (18-of-47) from the floor in the loss, including 18.8 percent (3-of-16) on 3-pointers, and they shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the free-throw line.