Florida Gulf Coast 69 - 64 East Tennessee State
Eyes were on Dunk City Thursday night as people waited to see if they could get one game closer to another NCAA tournament bid. FGCU opened up strong to start the contest but the ETSU zone, a combination of 1-3-1 and 3-2 zone, started to stall the Eagles offense. Some much-needed threes gave the Bucs an edge midway through the first half. Jalen Riley spurned the Bucs offense but his aggressiveness did not pay off as he went just 6-10 from the charity stripe.
But back-to-back blocks sparked FGCU on the offensive end and they held a one point lead at halftime. The Eagles rode that into the 2nd half and opened up a 41-35 lead. But again the zone clamped down on the Eagles offense and a Lester Wilson three gave ETSU the lead at the under twelve timeout. With 8 points, the rising sophomore struggled from the field but boosted the Bucs when needed.
The Bucs and Eagles then went shot for shot and saw the game tied with under two minutes left. First it was a Brett Comer transition slam, and then a Jamail Jones corner three but Florida Gulf Coast escaped with a win. Lone senior Chase Fieler had 22 points and a career high 15 rebounds as the Eagles landed themselves a spot in the Atlantic Sun championship.
Mercer 78 - 75 USC Upstate
Torrey Craig vs. Langston Hall. You couldn't ask for much more in the Atlantic Sun. The two matched up often and when shot for shot in this high pressure game. With a spot in the A-Sun Championship on the line, Langston Hall's 21 points came through clutch for the Bears.
With a teetering contest to start, Ricardo Glenn powered Upstate to end the first half and the Spartans walked into the locker room with a 31-29 lead. After the break however, Langston Hall led the Bears back to a seven point lead. It looked as if Bob Hoffman's squad would pull away, but then Ty Greene happened. Big time. Back to back threes from Greene allowed the Spartans to regain a lead at 57-55.
Continuing the Upstate run, Torrey Craig's monster game (24 points) put the Spartans in position to win, but a game tying three by Hall with 37 seconds left forced overtime. In the extra period, two Jakob Gollon threes guaranteed a second overtime.
While the 2nd free period of basketball saw Craig and Hall go tit for tat, hitting ridiculous shot after ridiculous shot, Mercer's T.J. Hallice stole the show. In a 60 second sequence, the junior tallied an offensive rebound and put-back, grabbed a steal, and finished with an and one opportunity.
In a highly anticipated rematch, Mercer will face Florida Gulf Coast in the Atlantic Sun Championship on Sunday, at 2 p.m. in Dunk City.