Peach State Sports Blog

Mercer basketball makes trip to West

Jibri Bryan and Darious Moten both said there’s one thing they’re not looking forward to this week: the cold.

And they didn’t mean the recent cold snap across the Southeast.

No, they meant the cold in Alaska as the team prepares to play in the Great Alaska Shootout. But before that, Mercer makes a stop off in Colorado to face Colorado State on Sunday.

“Colorado State is going to be athletic and big, and (Larry) Eustachy is a special coach; he’s been a Final Four coach,” Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman said of the Rams’ head coach. “He knows how to get it done and get players in there, and it will be a challenge for us. I have been in there before, in that building, and it’s a tough place to play.”

But that’s just the start of the Bears’ trip.

They play Rice on Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska, and will play two more games there after that. Then, Mercer (2-1) returns to Mercer University Stadium for a four-game homestand.

“I’m not looking forward to the cold, but I’m looking forward to playing basketball,” Bryan said with a smile. “Slowly but surely we’re coming together. We’re building our chemistry together, and it’s going to get there.”

The Bears are coming off a 74-66 win over Kennesaw State on Wednesday.

“I’m not looking forward to that cold,” Moten said with a laugh. “But I’m looking forward to playing against some good teams out there and getting some wins.”

Hoffman is looking forward to seeing how his team comes together on and off the court during this trip.

That could be pivotal for a team with so many new faces.

“I believe our guys will perform well; we have four tough games,” Hoffman said. “We’ll get to play against people we don’t normally get to play, and I think (on this trip) we can figure out more what we need to be about and when we get back how much better we can get before we get to conference play.

“There’s no doubt, not just the basketball-wise, but just being together with your life experiences and growing together and learning the experiences of basketball, too, and just life in general and building every day about who you want to be as a person and who you want to be as a player and who you want to be as a team. That’s what we’re going to work on, and it should be a lot of fun.”