Sam Houston State (1-1) at Mercer (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 21st, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Center (3,200) -- Macon, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: SHSU 1-0, Mercer 1-0. Away Record: SHSU 0-1, Mercer 1-1.Neutral Record: SHSU 0-0, Mercer 0-0. Conference Record: SHSU 0-0, Mercer 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Mercer welcomes Sam Houston to Macon for the CBE Classic at the University Center this evening.
Sam Houston is 1-1 after a 74-41 loss to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The loss came after the Bearkats won their opener 76-42 over Division III Howard Payne. Jason Hooten led Sam Houston to the regular season championship in the Southland in 2010-2011, his first year with the team. Hooten now owns a career record of 19-14. The Bearkats are making 37.2 percent of their shots this year and averaging 58.5 points per game. Sam Houston hopes to bounce back from its lackadaisical performance in the Notre Dame game where it managed only 41 points and had 18 turnovers.
Mercer, the host of the CBE Classic, is 2-1 after beating Furman 66-46. The win came after an 18-point loss to Missouri which was preceded by a 66-57 win over Division III opponent Emory. Bob Hoffman will have a chance to make his winning percentage at Mercer .500 with a win as he is 50-51 heading in. Hoffman is now in his fourth season with the Bears
This will be the first ever meeting between SHSU and Mercer.
Sophomore forward Bud Thomas is leading the Bears so far this season with 12.3 points per game. Thomas's minutes averaged have nearly doubled from last season and he is a much bigger part of the offensive plan as he has scored in double-figures in 2-of-3 games. Daniel Coursey has also seen a role change in his sophomore season. Coursey averaged just 0.2 points per game last season, but has upped his averaged to 10.7 points this season. Coursey is also pulling down 6.3 boards per game. Mercer's Junior guard Jakob Gollon displayed his versatility early on this year as he scored 10 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out seven assists in the Bears' opener.
Junior transfer Steven Werner has been impressive in his first Division I action as he is nearly averaging a double-double to lead the Bearkats. Werner had 20 points and 16 rebounds in the season opener. Werner is making an incredibly efficient 73.3 percent of his shots so far. Senior Marcus James did not hold anything back against Notre Dame as he scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the loss. Freshman center Michael Holyfield has provided inside presence this year and is collecting 8.5 rebounds per game.
SHSU has played both the role of David and the role of Goliath this year, in this one it will play neither. Mercer and SHSU have different styles of play but should match up evenly. The Bearkats' key players spent all last season on the practice squad building chemistry while Mercer has some new faces making a big impact. Gallon will be the x-factor in this one. If the Mercer guard can get his teammates involved and limit turnovers, the Bears will win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Mercer 73, Sam Houston State 70
11/21 10:32:32 ET