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NCAA: Mercer shocks No. 3 seed Duke, winning 78 to 71
Mercer 78, Duke 71: Jakob Gollon scored a team-high 20 points as the 14th-seeded Bears rallied to shock the No. 3 seed Blue Devils in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Raleigh, N.C.
Daniel Coursey contributed 17 points and Anthony White Jr. had 13 for Mercer (27-8), which won its first-ever NCAA tournament game in its first appearance since 1985. Langston Hall and Ike Nwamu added 11 points apiece for the Bears, who will play either Tennessee or Massachusetts on Sunday in the Midwest regional quarterfinals.
Quinn Cook led the way with 23 points, including seven of a season high-tying 15 makes from 3-point range for Duke (26-9). Rasheed Sulaimon had five 3-pointers en route to 20 points, Jabari Parker scored 14 and Amile Jefferson added 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who shot 35.5 percent from the field.
Duke made eight 3-pointers – four from Sulaimon -- and had an 11-1 edge on the offensive boards in the first half but could only manage a 35-34 lead at intermission. Mercer shot 52.4 percent from the field and made its first four shots in the second half, including a 3-pointer from Hall, to take a 45-40 lead.
The Blue Devils battled back and Parker’s three-point play followed by Tyler Thornton’s three free throws gave a Duke a 63-58 edge with 4:52 to go. The Bears responded with 11 straight points, including a big three-point play by Coursey for a 68-63 lead with 1:07 left, and held off a late rally by the Blue Devils.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Mercer shot 55.6 percent from the field and drained 23-of-28 free throws. … The Bears matched their program record for wins in a season, tying the 2011-12 squad’s 27-11 mark. … Duke, which made 15-of-37 from behind the 3-point arc, was denied its 100th NCAA tournament victory (99-34) and lost for only the sixth time in 38 games in the state of North Carolina during the event.