Florida Gulf Coast defeated Mercer to win the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, and are the first team into the NCAA Tournament Field. The defeated the Bears by a score of 88-75.
Brett Comer led the Spartans with 21 points and 5 assists. Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, Sherwood Brown added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Mercer looked to be in control of things early in the first half in front of their home crowd in Macon, Georgia but Florida Gulf Coast changed to a zone defense that looked to take Mercer out of their rhythm. The Spartans continued to switch defenses and took a 2 point lead into the half.
In the second half, the Spartans outscored Mercer by a 50-39 advantage. The Bears came into the game as one of the better defensive teams in the nation but Florida Gulf Coast were able to find some transition opportunities to up the tempo.
Both teams were on from behind the three point arc but Florida Gulf Coast hit 17 free throws out of 22 attempted and opened up a comfortable lead in the second half. They were able to fight off any surges the Bears had and hold on to the victory.
With the win, the Spartans enter the NCAA Tournament with an automatic bid. It will be their first ever appearance into the Big Dance. They will enter the tournament with a 24-10 record. Mercer drops to a 23-11 record and will await an opportunity to play in a post season tournament.
(photo courtesy of AP)