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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 1:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UVI Sports and Fitness Center (3,500) -- St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Television: None. Home Record: Mercer 2-0, George Mason 0-0. Away Record: Mercer 0-0, George Mason 0-0.Neutral Record: Mercer 0-0, George Mason 0-0. Conference Record: Mercer 0-0, George Mason 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Mercer Bears will face off against the George Mason Patriots as both teams travel off the mainland to play in the first round of the Paradise Jam in the US Virgin Islands.
The Bears have won their first two games with easy victories over Sewanee (65-36) and Oglethorpe (70-25). It's been a good start for a Mercer team that is coming off a 27-win season, winning the Atlantic Sun regular season crown a year ago.
George Mason is 1-1 thus far after beating Virginia 63-59 in their season opener, before falling to Bucknell 61-56 on the road. The Patriots were 24-9 a year ago but must find a way to replace CAA Player of the Year in Ryan Pearson.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
Mercer has looked impressive so far as they carry a 2-0 record early on, despite the loss of the Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Player of the Year in Langston Hall, who is out with an ankle injury. In their first two games the Bears have outscored their opponents 135-61, showing both strong offensive and defensive performances. They have done a good job getting everyone involved thus far, Travis Smith leads the way averaging 11.5 ppg, and is the only Bear averaging double figures. In the win over Oglethorpe, the team dominated in just about every facet of the game, including a huge 47-28 advantage on the boards. In addition, the Bears forced 22 turnovers, while their reserves outscored Oglethorpe's bench 51-4.
In the Patriots' hard-fought season opening win, Bryon Allen came up big hitting a go ahead three-pointer in the final minute and sinking two free throws in the final seconds to give George Mason the win. He was one of three players to score in double figures for the Patriots. Sherrod Wright led the team with 15 points, followed by Allen's 13 points and Johnny Williams' 11. In the loss to Bucknell, Wright led the team in scoring again as he recorded 16 points. Only Patrick Holloway joined him in double-digits with 11 points in the loss. George Mason was guilty of 25 personal fouls that led to Bucknell's strong effort from the free-throw line (22-of-29), while Patriots were only 5- of-12 from the charity stripe.
Mercer has been dominant in their first two games and should move to 3-0 although it certainly won't come as easy.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Mercer 74, George Mason 71
11/16 10:35:33 ET
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