The Friars got their third win in as many days as they took down the Mercer University Bears 79-77, in what was essentiallythe Championship game of the World Vision Invitational. The Friars had leads over 17 points in both the first and second halves, but only managed to scrape by with a two point win over a resilient Mercer team.
The Friars were led by Marshon Brooks who had a monster first half, scoring 22, but had to fight through the second half with and ankle injury and only put up four points. Greedy Peterson ripped down 22 rebounds which is the most in a single game for a Friar since 2000 but went only 5 for 20 missing a number of shots from point-blank range. This, and Bilal Dixon picking up his 5th foul with lots of time on the clock left the door open for Mercer. A 6 minute PC scoring drought brought Mercer within points of the Friars, and down the stretch, uncharacteristically, Sharaud and Marshon both missed key free throws that could have put the game away. Marshon had this to say:
“I missed three. I buckled them. We can’t have our leaders do that. Put me in that position again. I won’t miss.”
In the end though a Mercer turnover sealed the deal for the Friars and they were able to escape the weekend with a 3-0 start to the season. After the game Marshon Brooks, Greedy Peterson, and Sharaud Curry were named to the All-Tournament Team, and Marshon was named the Tournament MVP.
First: We would like to apologize for the late recap of this game and the failure to but up a Bucknell Recap. It was a busy weekend, and with no spacing between the games it was difficult. Now to the Mercer game.
Yikes. As we sat listening to the radio watching the updates on ESPN Gamecast we started to get that feeling that is all too familiar to Friar fans. The feeling that a game that was in the bag was slipping away. The feeling that a new batch of Friars were going to have the same problems closing out teams that the last batch did. Luckily they pulled it out. Thankfully.
The first half was great. The scoring was not really distributed greatly with Marshon dominating the box score, but hey, whenever Marshon is feeling like putting up the points he did in the first half yesterday afternoon, we have no problem with that. But the problem was that when Marshon went down nobody really picked up the slack. Sharaud did a good job trying to make up for the scoring but we really needed one of the big guys to contribute in a bigger way. We are trying not to be too concerned about Greedy’s 5-20 shooting performance, or his missed dunks, and focus on his incredible 22 rebounds, but that percentage was hard to overlook, especially when so many of his misses game from within five feet of the basket. The last thing that didn’t sit well was the free throw misses at the end of the game. Marshon was hurt but still you’d think he’d knock a couple of those down, and Sharaud who is usually lights out misfired from the stripe as well. Hopefully that was more of a function of the three games in three days, and not anything we should be worried about. I mean everybody misses free throws, just it was unfortunate timing, especially from the leaders of the team. On a very positive note, PC only had three turnovers!
So what it comes down to is that we won the game. We were supposed to start out 3-0 and we are. It was a tough game, but Mercer is a good team, and the Friars had some obstacles to overcome… but they did which is a good sign. Now the schedule gets a more difficult and this young Friars team will take its first road trip… down to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama. The team (and Marshon’s ankle) has the week to rest and will hopefully come out recharged and start off 4-0. But for now enjoy the 3-0 start and the promising play of a lot of newcomers.