BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Mercer men’s basketball team dropped its second straight contest on Sunday afternoon as it was defeated 76-66 by Canisius at the Boca Raton Beach Classic. In the contest, Ethan Stair recorded his third straight double-double as he scored 17 points and collected 10 rebounds.
Stair’s double-double is his the fifth of the season, which leads the Southern Conference. Djordje Dimitrijevic followed with 16 points. Victor Bafutto and Maciej Bender followed with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Mercer shot 40.7 percent in the contest, while Canisius shot 50.9 percent.
The Bears and Griffins came out trading buckets and five minutes into the game, the contest was tied at 6-6. Mercer slowly stretched the lead to seven, 13-6, after a layup by Victor Bafutto. The seven-point lead was the largest lead the Bears had in the first half.
After the Griffins took the lead down to three, 14-11, the Bears grew the lead back to seven, 18-11, after a fastbreak layup by Bafutto. Following his layup, Mercer went scoreless for three minutes and found itself down three, 21-18, before Bender hit a layup, trimming the lead down to one, 21-20.
After a pair of free throws by Stair tied the game at 31-31, the Griffins outscored the Bears 7-3 over the final two minutes and Mercer trailed 38-34 at halftime.
Coming out of halftime, Mercer slowly started to pick up momentum as a jumper by Stair and Bafutto followed with a three-point play as Mercer and Canisius found themselves tied at 42-42. Following the tie, the Griffins slowly grew the lead back to eight points, 52-44.
Mercer did not go away as it went on an 8-0 run that tied the game at 52-52 after a Daniel Love layup. With the score tied at 54-54, Stair hit an old-fashion three-point play, putting the Bears ahead, 57-54, with 8:05 left. This was the first lead for Mercer since 18-17.
Canisius battled back and took the lead at 59-57, but the Bears tied the game at 59-59 with 5:55 left. The Griffins took the lead and slowly grew the lead to five, 65-60. Daniel Love would hit a 3-pointer putting the Bears down two with 3:36 left in the contest. This would be as close as Mercer would get.
The Bears close out the Boca Raton Beach Classic by playing the loser of the Holy Cross and Hofstra contest at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, from FAU Arena.