Close game after close game.
Last-second dagger after last-second dagger.
That has become life for Bob Hoffman’s Mercer team.
Two days after Furman’s Daniel Fowler hit a jumper with 2.3 seconds left to beat Mercer by two points, Wofford’s Eric Garcia hit a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to beat the Bears 65-62 on Saturday. Garcia was 1-of-7 from the floor before he hit the game-winner, and he had 10 assists.
Mercer falls to 11-14 overall and 5-7 in the Southern Conference, while Wofford improves to 11-13 and 6-5.
Five of Mercer’s conference losses have been by three points or fewer.
Four who mattered
Ria’n Holland: The junior guard led Mercer with 23 points, hitting 7-of-15 from the floor. He was 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Stephon Jelks: The junior forward was the only other Mercer player in double figures, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Jelks was 1-of-10 from the floor but did hit 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.
Fletcher Magee: The Wofford sophomore hit 9-of-22 from the floor, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Terriers with 23 points.
Nathan Hoover: The freshman came off the bench to hit four of Wofford’s 11 3-pointers.
Tight all the way: Mercer’s largest lead was five points, while Wofford’s was four. There were 13 lead changes and 12 ties.
Catching fire: Wofford shot only 34.6 percent from the floor in the first half, but the Terriers came alive in the second half, hitting 13-of-25 (52 percent). Wofford made six of its 10 3-point tries in the second half and five of its seven free throws.
Struggling on offense: Mercer shot only 35.8 percent, hitting 19-of-53. The Bears were 5-of-19 on 3-point tries. Mercer did make 19-of-22 free throws, and that was big keeping the Bears in the game.
Controlling the boards: Mercer outrebounded Wofford 41-24 and had a 14-2 lead in second-chance points.
Getting his award: Former Mercer baseball player Kyle Lewis was back on campus to receive his Golden Spikes Award from last summer. Lewis won the award after his standout junior season with the Bears. He was drafted 11th by the Seattle Mariners in the major league draft. Lewis suffered a torn ACL later in the summer and says he’s a few months from a full recovery.
They said it
Jelks on another close loss: “We’ve just got to find a way to finish out games. We’re always there. We’ve just got to figure out what we’ve got to do to get that W. Because all these games we’re losing by two or three, we could easily be undefeated in the conference.”
Hoffman: “We just try to keep doing the things we’ve been doing, focusing on what we can get better at. It’s just really, really hard when your guys give effort and you come up short, and you have enough effort to get right there.”
Mercer opens a three-game road trip at 7 p.m. on Thursday at VMI.