The Mercer Bears survived a poor shooting afternoon and a furious Florida Gulf Coast rally to beat the Eagles, 68-60, on Sunday. The 26-8 Bears followed up the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title with a win in the postseason tournament and by doing so earned a ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
Senior guard Langston Hall scored 15 points for Mercer and went 6-for-11 from the floor, a much more efficient clip than his team recorded on the afternoon. The Bears shot 36.7 percent but crashed the offensive glass, played solid three-point defense and closed in front of a rowdy crowd in Fort Myers, Fla.
Mercer built a 33-17 by halftime, but FGCU made a second-half rally behind -- what else -- a few thunderous dunks.
The Eagles were within three points with less than three minutes to play, but Hall had other ideas. He hit a pull-up jumper with two minutes to play to give the Bears a five-point lead that was enough buffer to earn the win.
FGCU was led by Brett Comer and Bernard Thompson, who scored 14 points apiece. At 22-12, the Eagles lost out on an automatic NCAA Tournament bid and likely won't be a part of March Madness just a year after making a run to the Sweet 16.