Teams Playing For First Time
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs are back on the road on Saturday when they play at Mercer in Macon, Ga. Tip off at Hawkins Arena is slated for noon.
Yale (2-2) is coming off an 80-65 victory over Sacred Heart in its home opener on Tuesday night at the John J. Lee Amphitheater. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Javier Duren and Nick Victor who each had 16 points. Victor was 7-for-7 from the field in setting a new career high in points. Duren continued his solid early-season play. He leads the team in scoring (17.3 ppg.), assists (14) and three-pointers (8). Duren, who was named the Ivy League co-player of the week on Monday before the Sacred Heart game, averaged 7.7 points last year. Sophomore Justin Sears also has improved his number over a year ago. Sears is averaging 17.0 points and 8.3 rebounds through four games after averaging 9.5 points and 5.3 rebounds a year ago. The Bulldogs continue to get the job done on the glass. They outrebounded Sacred Heart 40-28 and have a +11.5 rebounding margin in their two victories. The trip to Georgia is the first of three straight road games for the Bulldogs, who play at Lafayette on Tuesday and at Hartford next Saturday. In all, Yale plays six of its first seven games away from home. The Bulldogs don't return to Lee Amphitheater again until Dec. 4 against Bryant.
3 Keys For Yale
Rebound: The Bulldogs have been dominant on the glass in three of their four games this season. They'll face their stiffest test of the season on the boards. Mercer has a +9.4 rebounding margin through five games. The Bears have the size and length to matchup with Yale.
Defend: Mercer averages 86 points per game and is shooting 48.3 percent from the field. Yale is allowing its opponents to shoot 46.5 percent so far. That number will have to improve for the Bulldogs to be successful this year.
Stay Composed: Mercer is 33-4 in Hawkins Arena since the start of the 2011-12 season. The Bulldogs are likely to face adversity at some point during the game. How they respond will go a long way in determining if they can leave with a victory.
In the last two games, Brandon Sherrod is averaging 10.0 points and shooting .571 (8-of-14) from the field.
Jesse Pritchard is fourth in the Ivy League in three-point field goal percentage. Pritchard is 6-of-12 (.500) from beyond the arc.
Armani Cotton has scored in double figures in three of the four games.
Yale and Mercer are playing for the first time. The Bulldogs are playing their first game in the state of Georgia since participating in the Cotton States Classic at the University of Georgia in 1984. Yale fell to the hosts in the first round and lost to BYU the next night.
Mercer may be one of the most underrated programs in the nation. The Bears went 24-12 last year, advanced to the championship game of the Atlantic Sun Tournament final before losing to Florida Gulf Coast. Mercer then beat Tennessee in the NIT but lost in the second round to Brigham Young. This season, the Bears (3-2) already have a 77-74 double overtime victory over Seton Hall on their resume, and they also gave Texas a scare before falling 76-73. Langston Hall (16.2 ppg.) and Daniel Coursey (12.4 ppg.) both average double figures in scoring. Mercer is 33-4 in Hawkins Arena since the start of the 2011-12 season.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity