Georgia returns to Athens to take on Mercer

Tonight the Georgia Bulldogs (5-5) will take on the Mercer Bears (7-4), a team that the Dawgs had to rally to beat in Macon a year ago.  In last season’s game between these two squads, the Bulldogs overcame a late-game deficit to walk away with a 56-53 victory.

Despite losing their top three scorers from last year’s team, this group of Mercer Bears has learned how to score the basketball, averaging nearly 71 points per game.  The Bears enjoy shooting the three ball, tossing up almost 21 attempts from beyond the arc, where they are making just under 34% of those shots.

Mercer is fresh off of a tough 80-77 overtime road loss to 9-1 Seton Hall, which I imagine can only add extra motivation to the Bears hopes of stealing a win tonight in Athens.

The Bears leading scorer is sophomore Langston Hall, who is pacing his team with 13.4 ppg and 3.9 apg.  The former Chamblee High School standout is tall for a point guard at 6’4″, and he has a nice little stroke from the outside, where he is hitting over 36% of his three-point attempts.

In the paint, Mercer is led by senior Justin Cecil and junior Jakob Gollon, who are averaging 11.5 ppg and 10.7 ppg, respectively.

The Bears share a common opponent this season with the Bulldogs – South Dakota State.  Mercer lost to the Jackrabbits 74-61 in Macon back in November, one week after Georgia had beaten SDSU 72-61 in Athens.

The Bulldogs are returning to Stegeman after a 63-59 come-from-behind victory at Southern Cal last Saturday night, and I am interested to see how this team handles a little bit of success.  The game tonight against Mercer is by no means a pushover, and if the Dawgs fall back into some of their bad habits that have haunted them this season – scoring droughts, lackluster perimeter defense and poor rebounding – things could certainly get interesting in the Steg.

In Georgia’s victory over USC, the Bulldogs were only able to secure 3 offensive rebounds.  The main thing that I would like to see tonight (besides a UGA win of course) is a little fire and a lot more effort from the Dawgs’ bigs in attacking the boards after Georgia’s field goal attempts.

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