Mercer (5-3) at Oklahoma (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 2, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lloyd Noble Center (7,200) -- Norman, Oklahoma.
Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Mercer 4-0, Oklahoma 3-0. Away Record: Mercer
1-3, Oklahoma 0-0. Neutral Record: Mercer 0-0, Oklahoma 2-1. Conference
Record: Mercer 0-0, Oklahoma 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Mercer Bears put the wraps on an exhausting three-game road
trip when they visit the Oklahoma Sooners in non-conference action on Monday
Mercer is playing its third road game in the last six days, and its last was
by far the most taxing as it claimed a 117-108 triple-overtime victory at
Valparaiso on Friday. Following this first-ever meeting with Oklahoma, the
Bears return home to play two straight and three of their next four. They will
open Atlantic Sun Conference play at Jacksonville on Dec. 30.
Oklahoma opened the season at 4-0 before suffering its first and only defeat
in an 87-76 decision versus No. 1 Michigan State on Nov. 24. The Sooners
bounced back in whipping visiting Arkansas-Little Rock this past Friday,
101-81, to improve to 3-0 at home. OU doesn't appear to have another
significant challenge between now and the start of Big 12 Conference play at
Texas on Jan. 4, 2014.
With their last outing certainly being their most productive, the Bears are
averaging a robust 86.9 ppg thanks to shooting efforts that come in at .481
overall, .376 from beyond the arc, and .741 at the foul line. The team boasts
five double-digit scorers, four of them starters, with Langston Hall leading
the way with his 16.0 ppg. Hall's shooting prowess could certainly stand
improving, as he is hitting just 36.7 percent of his field goal attempts, but
he is also instrumental in getting his teammates involved in the action as he
hands out 5.6 apg. Daniel Coursey (11.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg), Ike Nwamu (11.0 ppg,
3.8 rpg), Jakob Gallon (10.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.1 apg) and Bud Thomas (10.0 ppg,
3.9 rpg) have all been productive for a Mercer club that saw several team and
individual records fall in the triple-overtime win at Valparaiso. Hall dished
out nine assists to become the Bears' all-time assists leader, while Gollon
and Thomas set new career scoring marks with 37 and 23 points, respectively.
Oklahoma has also been a potent offensive team in the early going, putting up
87.5 ppg in dropping 47.7 percent of its total shots, which includes a 36.3
percent showing from beyond the arc. The team's defensive effort has given up
quite a bit in terms of points (78.8 ppg), but goads the opposition into
nearly 15 turnovers per outing. Cameron Clark is averaging 18.8 ppg, and he is
one of the top rebounders on the roster with 6.2 rpg. Buddy Hield (16.3 ppg,
4.3 rpg), Isaiah Cousins (11.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg) and Ryan Spangler (10.3
ppg, 8.2 rpg) round out the unit's double-digit scorers, and it was Clark who
paced the Sooners in their recent win over UALR, as he drained four 3-pointers
en route to 22 points. All five starters finished in double figures, with
Spangler logging a double-double consisting of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Oklahoma wound up making 12 treys, while at the same time taking advantage of
17 turnovers by the Trojans.
Mercer certainly has talent, but the Bears are a weary bunch and they aren't
likely to muster up the energy needed to win in Norman tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma 82, Mercer 70
12/02 10:32:38 ET
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