The Mercer men’s basketball team returned home after a two-game road trip in desperate need of a victory. The Bears started fast and never looked back as they defeated Samford 81-50.
The victory gave Mercer its first Southern Conference win of the season (1-3). It was a quality win versus a Bulldog squad that was 3-1 in conference play coming into the game.
Mercer started hot from the opening tip. Thanks to an energetic crowd and possibly some desperation, the Bears sprinted out to a 10-0 lead. After struggling offensively in their last game, they outscored Samford 29-7 over the first 14 minutes of the game. They ended the half with a 44-16 lead.
The second half was simply maintenance for the Bears as they kept their lead teetering around 30 points for the remainder of the game. The Bulldogs were never able to make a run thanks to Mercer's offensive efficiency, defense, and rebounding.
Four who mattered
Ria’n Holland: The senior sharpshooter poured in a game-high 23 points to go with his four rebounds and three assists.
Stephon Jelks: The jack of all trades recorded another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He also had a couple highlight reel dunks.
Demetre Rivers: The 6-foot-8-inch guard scored 11 points, dished out five assists, and grabbed two rebounds.
Desmond Ringer: The big man finished two points shy of a double-double. He scored eight points and pulled down 12 rebounds.
Stephon Jelks on the importance of his team's energy at the start: “It’s important because you see what it led to, it led to a 10-0 run to begin the game. I feel like that can carry us with momentum and the players we have.”
Jelks on what it took to snap the winless streak in the SoCon this season: “We knew we had to focus on defensive intensity and playing every possession of the game.”
The Mercer men will tip it off again 7 p.m. Monday when they welcome in Tennessee Chattanooga.