MACON, Ga. - Senior Justin Cecil scored 21 first-half points and Mercer owned a 20-point lead at the break, as the Bears cruised to a 76-54 Atlantic Sun win over FGCU Monday night.
Cecil finished with a game-high 24 points to help Mercer (10-6) grab its league-leading 10th win of the season while improving to 2-1 in the A-Sun. The loss snaps a two-game win streak for the Eagles (5-8), who are now 1-2 in league play.
The Eagles were led by sophomore Christophe Varidel and freshman Bernard Thompson with 13 points apiece. Varidel, ranked second nationally in three-point percentage, knocked down 2-of-3 beyond the arc and had three steals.
Mercer lived up to its top defensive ranking in the A-Sun, holding FGCU to its third-lowest point total of the season after averaging 83.5 points the previous two games. The Eagles shot 42 percent (20-48) from the floor and committed 20 turnovers that led to 20 Mercer points.
Mercer jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game and built a double-figure edge sustained with 7:46 remaining, at 24-14. The Bears' lead grew to 20, 43-23, at the break after Cecil scored 10 of the team's final 13 points over the final 3:27 of the frame.
The Eagles close out their two-game conference swing through Georgia at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Kennesaw State (3-11, 0-3).
FGCU 98, Mercer 50: Senior Kelsey Jacobson's career-high 24 points, which included a career-high eight of FGCU's 14 three-pointers, led Monday's blowout win over A-Sun foe Mercer.
The Eagles (11-2, 3-0 A-Sun) are now 9-0 all-time against Mercer.
Jacobson has now made a three in 76 of her last 79 games and 98 of 105 for her career. During her FGCU career, Jacobson has made three threes 45 times, five threes on 17 occasions and a career-best eight twice.
The Eagles, who lead the nation in three-point field goals per game (12.7), have drained double-digit three-pointers in 10 of their 13 games this season and now have 165 treys as a team. Six different players made at least one Monday.
Sophomore Sarah Hansen chipped in with 15 points and two steals, while freshman Whitney Knight added 10 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals in 18 minutes.
Trailing 12-9 early in the first half, the Eagles used an 11-2 run, capped by a Jacobson three, to grab a 20-14 advantage with 10:49 remaining in the half. Jasmine Blakemore cut the FGCU advantage to 22-18 with 10:31 remaining in the opening period, but the Eagles used a 29-9 run, highlighted by 15 points by Jacobson on 5-of-5 from behind the arc, to close out the half and take a 51-27 lead to the locker room.
In the second half, FGCU continued to dominate and extended their lead to as many as 48 points.
The Eagles play at A-Sun foe Kennesaw State (6-8, 1-2 A-Sun) at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday.