UCF Takes on Mercer

UCF beat Mercer a month ago in Orlando, but the two teams are clearly different clubs today than they were back in January. UCF (19-4, 14-2) looks to extend a three-game win streak tonight when they take on Mercer (10-15, 7-9) at University Center. This game will also mark the Knights first visit to Mercer's new arena, the 3,200-seat University Center. Since moving into the University Center, the Bears are 3-0 at home and have won all three games by at least 13 points.

The Knights won the first game between the two teams when they met in east Orlando a month ago, but that game feels like it was from a different season. The Knights are not the same team that defeated Mercer 60-56.  Unfortunately for Mercer, the Knights are the same team they were a month ago.  UCF is playing much better ball – they've won three straight – and Mercer must improve dramatically or risk getting blown out at home.


After the slowdown, grind-it-out game with Stetson, the Knights now face a much different style.  Mercer likes to get up and down; and they have the athletes to be successful with that style of play. The Bears also won't be running twenty five seconds off the shot clock on every possession – they've scored 70 or more points in five of their last six games.  Mercer returns home following three consecutive road losses and has now dropped seven of its last 10 games. The Bears have however posted a 9-1 record on their home court this season.



Scott Emerson, A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year, has been sidelined for 12 games this season due to injuries. The 6-9 senior has averaged 15.3 points a game in limited action this season.  


Delmar Wilson, A junior college transfer, is netting 12.9 points a game for Mercer.  Wilson is one of several Bears who are capable of giving UCF problems.  At 6-3, he is very quick and explosive.  He has recorded three double-doubles this season on top of scoring a team-high 26 points against Campbell.


Wilson is only one of the potential problems facing the Knights though, as the Bears feature a balanced attack.  Guard James Odoms and forwards Wesley Duke who are averaging 11.4 and 11.0 points per game respectively.


There's no question the Bears can score. They're No. 1 in the conference in 3-pt. field goal percentage.  The Bears are knocking down 39 percent of its shots from behind the arc led by James Odoms who has canned 48 treys on the season.  Defensively Mercer holds a slight edge on the boards grabbing 36 rebounds a game.


UCF barely held on to win back in January.  The Knights built a big lead, and were seemingly in control of the game, until the resilient Bears fought back again.  UCF battled back Mercer to take a 60-56 victory over Bears at UCF Arena.   In that game, UCF shot 37% in that game compared to Mercer who shot 35% respectively.  Dexter Lyons had 18 points, Roberto Morentin scored 17 and Josh Bodden had 9 points.  


Even Mercer is not at full strength tonight, this would be a tough game for UCF.


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