MACON, Ga. – A back and forth battle between Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast ended on a good note for the Eagles, as FGCU took home a 85-76 overtime win. No team led by more than six points in the entire second half, but Mercer led 81-78 lead with less than a minute to play before Kelsey Jacobson drained a clutch three-point shot to send the game into an extra period.
From there, it was all FGCU, as the Eagles held the Bears to just five points in overtime, as they improve to 11-4 (4-3 A-Sun) on the season.
FGCU had a balanced offensive attack, as five Eagles scored in double figures. Jacobson (Barnesville, Minn.) led the Eagles with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting from three-point range. Adrianne McNally (Howell, Mich.) scored 17 points and pulled down five boards. Shannon Murphy (Brighton, Mich.) finished with 14 points and dished out six assists. Chelsea Lyles (Colorado Springs, Col.) registered 13 points and Courtney Chihil (Tipp City, Ohio) chipped in with 11 points.
The game was tight in the beginning as McNally tried to keep the Eagles close with a pair of early baskets, only to see five quick points from Courtney Ford push the Mercer lead to 20-11.
Both teams were warming up, however, and began to find their range from the field. Lyles sunk a three-pointer from the top of the key, followed by another long-range bucket from Murphy.
Shooting well from outside, the Eagles climbed back into the contest, and took their first lead behind an McNally scoop and a pair of free throws with six minutes to go in the opening frame. Jacobson would quickly stretch that lead to four, at 33-29, with yet another long-range effort.
The Bears would respond, however, snapping off a 9-0 run, keyed by another Cristin Seymour three-pointer and a jumper from TaShera Lewis. The teams would head into the locker room dead even, knotted at 38-38.
The second half opened at a frenetic pace, with the two teams trading blows early on.
The tension in the gym began to rise as the teams continued to trade buckets, as the clock began to tick down. With less than a minute to go, Cristin Seymour drove baseline for a layup that would give the Bears a 71-68 cushion.
With just 12 seconds to play, however, Jacobson leveled matters with a three from the right wing, forcing the game into overtime.
The see-saw battle continued in the extra period, with Jacobson knocking down another three-points early in the extra session. FGCU’s defense stepped up and held the Bears to just two field goals in the overtime as the Eagles took control and won by the final, 85-76.
The Eagles continue their A-Sun schedule on Saturday, when they head to Kennesaw, Ga. to face Kennesaw State. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.