The season isn’t quite over for BYU, as BYU plays Mercer in the 2nd round of the NIT. If you don’t know what to expect out of the Mercer Bears, I’ve assembled some basic statistics to give you an idea.
Mercer University – Macon, GA
Mercer Bears – Atlantic Sun Conference
(24-11, 14-4 A-Sun)
12/2 @ Florida State (18-16, 9-9 ACC) 61-56 – held FSU to under 36% shooting, forced 18 turnovers, and Florida State missed 10 free throws.
12/22 @ Alabama (23-12, 12-6 SEC) 66-59 – Daniel Coursey scored 20 points on 9-14 shooting and Mercer had 16 assists.
1/2 vs. Florida Gulf Coast (26-10, 13-5 A-Sun) 77-70 OT – Langston Hall tallied 17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals as Mercer capitalized on FGCU’s 16 turnovers.
3/20 @ Tennessee (20-13, 11-7 SEC) 75-67 – Mercer shot 50% (26-52) on the night and held Tennessee to 38% shooting to advance to the NIT 2nd Round against BYU.
11/17 vs. IL-Chicago (18-16, 7-9 Horizon) 62-36 – Season low for points scored (only 17 in the 2nd half), shot 33% from the floor, 17% from beyond the arc, no player with double-digit points.
12/5 @ Denver (22-10, 16-2 WAC) 69-40 – One player scored in double figures for Mercer, bench went 3-18 (16.7%) from the field. Denver led in assist margin 19-7. Combo Guard Royce O’Neale had 22 points, 5 boards, and 3 assists for DU.
1/5 @ Kennesaw State (3-27, 2-16 A-Sun) 83-75– KENN shot lights out, going for over 51% from the floor, and over 64% from beyond the arc. Kennesaw shot an incredible 55 free throws, making 20 in the final 5½ minutes to seal the victory. Kennesaw guard Delbert Love dropped a career-high 32 points on Mercer.
1/13 @ Northern Kentucky (11-16, 9-9 A-Sun) 63-46 – Mercer shot under 35% from the floor and under 29% from beyond the arc. Mercer’s bench shot 4/12 from the floor and 1/5 from three. Combo Guard Eshaunte Jones posted 26 points and 6 boards for NKU.
Mercer, not unlike BYU, has depth problems, their bench accounted for only 4 points in the Tennessee victory last week. They struggle offensively, and average a mere 65 points per game, eleven below BYU’s average of 76. They also struggle off the boards, with an average of 6 fewer rebounds per game than BYU.
Mercer still possesses firepower, they did win the A-Sun conference, guards Travis Smith and Langston Hall average over 10 points a game. Travis Smith has scored in double figures 13 of the past 14 games – Tyler Haws mirrors that statistic – including a 25-point outing against Tennessee. Langston Hall has posted at least 5 assists in 10 out of their last 11 games, compared to 5 out of 11 games; with at least 5 assists, for Matt Carlino.
Mercer seems vulnerable to sharp shooting guards, so expect Tyler Haws to have a big day. Mercer also lacks a real interior threat; their two leading rebounders are listed at 6’6”, so Brandon Davies should also rack up plenty of stats off the boards. Langston Hall averages 5 assists per game, so Matt Carlino will have his hands full defensively containing the ball movement from the perimeter. Travis Smith, the Bears’ leading scorer, can stroke the three-ball, so expect Dave Rose to counter with frequent defensive scheme switches and aggressive hedging off ball screens.
BYU is riding off perhaps its most impressive win of the season, a dominant showing over Washington in which Tyler Haws hung 37 points, 6 boards; Brandon Davies put up 22 and 9 boards; and Carlino had 20 points, 7 boards, and 9 assists. BYU showed last week the form that was expected all season, and should they keep it up, they’ll have another win in the books.
Prediction: BYU 81 Mercer 69