The UNC Greensboro Spartans will travel to Hawkins Arena to take on the Mercer Bears this Saturday afternoon in College Basketball action.
The UNC Greensboro Spartans had their 2-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 10-6 on the season after being defeated by The Citadel Bulldogs, 74-69, this past Thursday. UNC Greensboro led by a 33-18 margin at halftime, however, the Spartans struggled on both ends of the court throughout the 2nd half and could not fight back after the Bulldogs took a 66-59 lead with 2:35 left in regulation. UNC Greensboro shot 40.0% from the field & 40.9% from beyond the arc while allowing The Citadel to shoot 45.3% from the field & 31.0% from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Spartans was De’Monte Buckingham who had 14 points, 7 rebounds, & 2 assists.
On the season, UNC Greensboro is averaging 64.1 ppg on 42.4% shooting from the field. The Spartans are averaging 6.6 three-pointers per game on 33.9% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, UNC Greensboro has been led by De’Monte Buckingham (13.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.5 apg), Bas Leyte (9.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Kaleb Hunter (8.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg), & Kobe Langley (7.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.4 spg).
Defensively, UNC Greensboro is holding their opponents to an average of 63.2 ppg on 39.6% shooting from the field. The Spartans have a rebound margin of 9.1 and a turnover margin of -3.4.
The Mercer Bears improved to 9-7 on the season after defeating the VMI Keydets, 97-91, this past Thursday. Mercer was outstanding offensively against VMI and was able to hang on for the victory after going into halftime with a 52-34 lead. Mercer shot 51.9% from the field & 58.6% from beyond the arc while allowing VMI to shoot 53.3% from the field & 52.0% from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Bears was Jalen Johnson who had 30 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block, & 1 steal.
On the season, Mercer is averaging 73.7 ppg on 44.8% shooting from the field. The Bears are averaging 9.5 three-pointers per game on 36.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Mercer has been led by Felipe Haase (15.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.6 spg), Jalen Johnson (15.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg), Neftali Alvarez (13.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.4 apg), & James Glisson III (11.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.5 apg).
Defensively, Mercer is allowing their opponents to average 72.4 ppg on 44.3% shooting from the field. The Bears have a rebound margin of -1.4 and a turnover margin of -0.1.
The Spartans are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. Mercer and 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 January games. The Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games and just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. UNC Greensboro.
UNC Greensboro has struggled a bit on the offense end of the court as the Spartans come into this game ranked just 315th in scoring offense & 264th in FG%, however, the Spartans have been outstanding defensively this season and currently rank t-55th in scoring defense, 45th in defensive FG%, & 11th rebound margin. Mercer has been led by their offense which ranks t-142nd in scoring offense, 39th in three-pointers made per game, & t-57th in 3P-FG%, however, the Bears have struggled defensively and currently rank just 262nd in scoring defense & 257th in defensive FG%.
UNC Greensboro is a solid team, however, it was a bit concerning to see their defense struggle so much in the 2nd half against The Citadel and this is a team that just doesn’t have the offense to compete in high-scoring games. Mercer is 6-1 at home this season and as I like what I’ve seen from the Bears offensively in recent games against Samford & VMI, I think Mercer is the play in this one. Good Luck!