Bucs homecourt woes continue in loss to Mercer

Fresh off a 96-74 victory at The Citadel, ETSU men’s basketball looked to keep their momentum going, but the visiting Mercer Bears had other plans with a 68-55 victory over a Bucs team that has struggled at home.

The Bucs (7-12) haven’t had much success at home since their 84-56 win against Mars Hill earlier this season on Nov. 30. The loss on Saturday marked the Bucs sixth-straight loss at home and the third loss in their last four games.

Up by as much as eight points early into their matchup with Mercer, the Bucs continued to be plagued by poor shooting and turnovers that would factor into the outcome of the game.

As a team, the Bucs shot under 40 percent (19-49) as well as adding 17 turnovers, leading Mercer by double digits in that column. The Bears were able to capitalize on ETSU’s mistakes with 15 of their points coming from the turnover prone Bucs.

It was late in the first half when the Bucs 22-14 lead would eventually be erased by a 17-6 run for Mercer that shifted the games momentum. The Bucs kept the score close until midway through the second half when the Bears would go on a 15-6 run to go up 54-43.

The Bucs were unable to overcome the late push by the Bears, falling to (7-12, 3-3 SoCon) following the 55-68 loss.

The Bucs were led on offence by guard Justice Smith (Lyons, N.Y.) and his 17 points. Smith also led the team with six rebounds and was tied for the lead in assists with two.

The Bucs will defend their homecourt again, this time against the SoCon leading Samford Bulldogs (12-7, 6-0).

The Bulldogs and their six-game winning streak will face-off against the Bucs and their six-game home losing streak on Jan. 18 at Freedom Hall, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.

For more information on ETSU men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com/mbasketball.

ETSU Men’s Basketball player Allen Strothers in game against Mercer. (Will Rowland/East Tennessean)

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