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Friday, Jun 2, 2023
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Mercer's intramural March Madness

Mercer University might be most well-known at the national stage for busting a few million brackets when Mercer's men's basketball team upset the number three seeded Duke Blue Devils in the opening round of the NCAA college basketball tournament.

Basketball has deep roots at Mercer, and around March, it becomes an almost unanimous fan favorite of staff, students and alumni. However, this time around, it wasn't the SoCon finals or a tournament upset that perpetuated the madness at Mercer, but rather Mercer's very own Men's A division intramural basketball final.  

Around 10 P.M. on March 13, a slew of a hundred or so Mercer students gathered in the University Center gym to witness the final of the men's A league intramural basketball game.   

The finals of this year's men's A division intramural basketball league saw the matchup of teams Connor Shurig and Los Tiadores. Entering this final bout, Connor Shurig boasted a 6-1 regular season record. Los Tiadores, though, would not have been intimidated by this as they too came into the finals with a stellar record, 7-0. This perfect record was not only a source of confidence for Los Tiadores but also awarded them the number one seed entering the championship.   

It was the underdogs, Connor Shurig, that got off to a quick start, scoring 13 points before Los Tiadores got on the board. This fast start, however, did not stifle the hopes of Los Tiadores, as they fought back to within three before the buzzer rang at the half.   

The remainder of the game saw the lead change hands on several occasions. With twelve seconds remaining Connor Shurig made a free throw to push their team up by four. With the ball in hand, Los Tiadores was able to drive the court and sink a three, but their last-ditch-effort was not enough as time expired on the next play.   

Following the game, Connor Shurig's starting point guard, J.D. Pirris, spoke as to why he thought his team was so successful.  

"I play football here at Mercer, and almost all of the guys on the (intramural basketball) team are on the football team too, so naturally, we are all very comfortable with each other both on and off the court, so I'd have to say our chemistry is what has made us so successful,” he said.

Pirris said he acknowledged that his team's training time had been minimal.  

"We usually meet once or twice a week. For the most part, we practice on Sunday afternoons. Just pick up games with whoever is willing to play,” he said.

Pirris, however, is far from a novice at the game of basketball. The game MVP attributed his in-game performance to his four years of varsity high school basketball.

"Yeah, I played varsity basketball all four years in high school, so I have a lot of in-game experience which helps with nerves in an event like this,” Pirris said.

As to how Connor Shurig came into existence, player-coach and power forward Jean Luc Brown shared a few words.   

"Like J.D., I play football for Mercer, and I was looking to stay in shape during the offseason. Once I saw flyers around campus and heard that some of my teammates would be willing to play, I created this team, and I am very happy with the result,” he said.

Brown concluded his interview with a challenge to all those interested in playing intramural basketball.  

"Yeah, I hope more people get involved next year. We need some more competition. Don’t want to win back to back championships without at least a little competition, you know,” he said.


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