Mercer (2-2) vs. Wake Forest (1-2)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 19, 2:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center (14,538) -- St.
Thomas, Virgin Islands. Television: None. Home Record: Mercer 2-0, Wake Forest
1-0. Away Record: Mercer 0-0, Wake Forest 0-0. Neutral Record: Mercer 0-2,
Wake Forest 0-2. Conference Record: Mercer 0-0, Wake Forest 0-0. Series
Record: Wake Forest leads 1-0.
GAME NOTES: In a consolation round of the Paradise Jam the Mercer Bears will
be paired up with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the Virgin Islands Sports
and Fitness Center.
The two squads have lost both of their games in the tournament. For Mercer the
Bears fought tough with George Mason in the opening round but fell 52-49. In
the second contest Mercer was much less competitive in taking a 62-36 loss
from Illinois-Chicago. The two losses erased what was a strong 2-0 start to
the season for the Bears. Mercer is back on the court next Sunday when it
Wake Forest had a similar path through the tournament. First the Demon Deacons
stayed right with Connecticut before losing 77-71. The let-down came in the
second game against Iona with Wake Forest falling 94-68. Wake Forest is now
1-2 this season with a 79-67 victory over Radford the other decision on the
ledger. Wake Forest will be at home in five of its next six games beginning
against William & Mary on Friday.
The Demon Deacons won the only other meeting between these squads with an
81-66 victory during the 1998-99 season.
Mercer couldn't get it going on offense in its loss to Illinois-Chicago. The
Bears finished with only 14 total field goals in the contest and were
outscored 24-6 from 3-point range. The Bears also turned the ball over 17
times and had just 27 rebounds in the losing effort. Darious Moten was the
lead scorer with just eight points.
Thanks to early wins against NAIA opponents Oglethorpe (70-25) and Sewanee
(65-36) Mercer is allowing only 43.8 points per game this season. Still the
Bears have played well defensively against Division I competition,
surrendering 57.0 points per game in its other two games. Keeping up that type
of defensive pressure is imperative for Mercer as the Bears are scoring just
55.0 points a game including 42.5 against Division I foes. Travis Smith (12.0
ppg, 3.5 rpg) is the only player on the team scoring more than 5.2 points per
game. Bud Thomas (5.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg) leads the Bears' effort on the glass.
Wake Forest dug itself into a deep hole against Iona in its most recent
matchup connecting on only 7-of-25 shots in the first half to fall behind by a
massive 54-24 margin at the half. Even though the Demon Deacons outscored the
Gaels 44-40 in the second half it was nowhere near enough. Wake Forest turned
the ball over 19 times and was outscored 42-15 from beyond the arc. Travis
McKie was the lead scorer in the game with 13 points, while tying for a team-
high with seven rebounds.
C.J Harris finished with only 10 points against Iona but is still the Demon
Deacon's best scoring option this season (15.3 ppg). However, he has struggled
with ball security though with a team-high 12 turnovers. McKie (13.3 ppg, 8.0
rpg) can play both on the inside and from the perimeter as he has knocked down
2-of-8 shots from beyond the arc. Codi Miller-McIntyre (11.7 ppg) and Chase
Fischer are the more reliable shooters from beyond the arc with the pair
combining for seven of the team's 15 total triples this season. Devin Thomas
(8.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg) plays a more traditional game in the low post to complement
Although Mercer has shown some strength on defense it has yet to prove it can
score enough to keep up with teams at the Division I level this season. Wake
Forest meanwhile could benefit from a tussle with a team that won't run up the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wake Forest 78, Mercer 53
11/19 10:42:53 ET