A 12-0 run broke a 10-all tie and got Belmont on track for a 41-33 halftime lead over Mercer in the first round of the Atlantic Sun men's basketball tournament at Lipscomb's Allen Arena.
Eight different Bruins scored in the first half as Belmont shot 15-of-31 to Mercer's 13-of-33.
The Bears rallied when the Bruins started to pull away. A 12-point lead was cut in half in less than a minute, and 13 was chopped to seven.
James Florence's fading 3-pointer with two seconds left helped the Bears get within single digits after trailing by 14 with 3:40 left.
Florence had 13 points at halftime, while conference player of the year Alex Renfroe had 10 for Belmont.
The Bears were outrebounded 22-14 and missed all four free-throw attempts.