Mercer basketball head coach Bob Hoffman isn't about to give up on his team and this season even with the Bears struggling through a five-game losing streak.
The Bears have two more games remaining in the regular season, at VMI on Thursday and at UNC Greensboro on Saturday. After winning its first 11 home games, Mercer lost its final three home games.
"We're going to keep getting better. We're going to keep figuring it out. I love our guys' attitudes, though," Hoffman said after the team's loss to East Tennessee State on Saturday. "These guys are going to give everything they have because that's what they're made of. That's the kind of resiliency they have.
"In some ways, this is a new season for us, and we're just a little bit into it. We weren't able to finish some of them, but we've got to find a way to get a couple on the road against some really good teams."
The Bears have dropped to 18-11 overall and 8-8 in the Southern Conference, which is tied for fifth place with Western Carolina and UNC Greensboro. Western Carolina has the tiebreaker on Mercer and UNC Greensboro after sweeping those teams during the regular season.
The top six teams in the conference avoid the first round of the conference tournament next week in Asheville, North Carolina.
As Hoffman pointed out, however, Furman reached the tournament title game last year as the 10th seed.
"If we possibly could, it would great to not have to play that first round," Hoffman said. "But if we do, we're going to go fight as hard as we can. These guys are good enough to win a championship. Last year, the 10th seed got to the championship game, and I believe these guys are going to give every ounce of effort they possibly can."
VMI is 7-19 overall and 2-13 in conference play, while UNC Greensboro is 12-17 overall. Mercer beat both at home last month, topping the Keydets by 15 and the Spartans by 14.
After winning their first game after the death of Jibri Bryan and the suspensions of Jestin Lewis and Desmond Ringer, the Bears haven't won since.
"We've just got to keep working. Get in the gym and keep working on things and get ready for this last road trip and be ready for Asheville," sophomore guard Jordan Strawberry said.