A two-game winning streak came to an end this past Saturday, as Mercer fell on the road to the UNC-Greensboro Spartans, 88-81.
The game started off with a series of runs. Mercer fell behind early, came back, before falling behind again. This time, they stayed behind and ultimately entered halftime down 45-33.
The second half saw Mercer fall further behind, trailing by as many as 19 points early in the second half. However, Mercer didn’t go away easily.
Led by seniors Jaylen Stowe and Ethan Stair, the Bears powered their way back into the game but fell short in the end. It was a valiant effort, but the Bears slow start plagued them in the end.
(1) Size matters, especially against bigger teams
UNCG is known for being a team of tall, long, athletic players. This year was no different. Mercer was dominated down low, getting outscored 50-26 in points in the paint and outrebounded 40-32. In order for the Bears to compete with teams like UNCG and Wofford, they are going to have to get stronger play from their big guys.
(2) Fardaws Aimaq needs more minutes
The 6’11, 245 freshman center played his best game of the season on Saturday, posting 11 points and eight rebounds in just 15 minutes of action. Mercer is a smaller team, so players like Aimaq are needed to provide not only offensive production but defense as well. Fardaws has potential, and I’d love to see how good he can be with more minutes.
(3) The turnover plague
If you want to win a basketball game, don’t turn the ball over. Mercer can speak to that after committing a season-high 24 turnovers, leading to 30 easy Spartan points. Mercer is a team that struggles on offense in the half-court, so when you allow a team like UNCG to get an easy 30 points, it hurts, especially in a seven-point loss.
Player of the Game: Jaylen Stowe
1. The senior forward scored 16 points to lead his team in scoring
2. Stowe pulled down five rebounds, including two on the offensive glass
3. Jaylen was an impressive 7-of-7 from the charity stripe, pacing his team’s 29-of-33 performance from the line for the game
(1) Hoffman on his team’s turnovers...
"We played a really good team; we fought hard. but just threw the ball away way too much. Twenty four turnovers makes it really tough and yet we still had a chance to get close there at the end.”
(2) Hoffman on his team’s second-half comeback that fell short...
“Our guys...gave it everything they could to win this game. We spent a lot of energy to get back into the game, and some of our young guys stepped up and made some plays at the end. We lost to a really good team tonight.”
(3) Hoffman on the play of Fardaws Aimaq...
“Fardaws [Aimaq] made some good plays and he can make even more.”