NORMAN, Okla. (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer men's basketball team concludes a three-game road trip on Monday with a tough test against Oklahoma at the Lloyd Noble Center at 9 p.m. The game will be nationally telecast on ESPNU on radio broadcast on the Mercer Sports Network (96.5 FM).
Mercer (5-3) is fresh off an emotionally charged three overtime win at Valparaiso on Friday evening. The Bears battled back from a 15-point deficit to claim the win behind career-high scoring totals for seniors Jakob Gollon and Bud Thomas.
Oklahoma is 5-1 on the year with the lone loss coming at the hands of No. 1 Michigan State as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Sooners are 3-0 at home this year and have won 97 of their last 100 non-conference games at the Lloyd Noble Center.
The Sooners return two starters from last year's team that finished 20-12 (11-7 Big 12). In a preseason poll of Big 12 coaches, Oklahoma and Kansas State garnered 43 points and tied for fifth place.
A high-octane Oklahoma offense five players averaging double figure scoring, led by Cameron Clark's 18.8 points per game average. As a team, the Sooners are averaging 87.5 points per outing and shooting 47.7% from the field.
Head coach Lon Kruger is in his third year with the team and owns 40 wins on the Oklahoma sideline. He's the only Division I coach to lead five separate programs to the NCAA tournament, most recently dancing with Oklahoma last season.
Langston Hall broke Mercer's program record for career assists last time out. He dished nine helpers to surpass Elston Harris' (Mercer '86) record of 470. Hall now has 477 assists to his credit.
Jakob Gollon scored a career-high 37 points in Mercer's triple overtime win at Valparaiso on Friday. The effort marked Mercer's highest single-game scoring total since James Florence scored 38 against USC Upstate on Feb. 26, 2009.
Monday's game marks a homecoming for both head coach Bob Hoffman and senior center Monty Brown. Hoffman played high school basketball at Putnam City and collegiate basketball at Oklahoma Baptist, before later coaching at both Oklahoma Baptist and Oklahoma. Brown is a native of Liberty Mounds, Oklahoma.
Mercer's 117 points scored on Friday at Valparaiso was the highest scoring output in program history. The previous high was 112, set in a win over Presbyterian on Dec. 4, 1978.
Mercer's triple overtime win over Valparaiso was the team's first triple overtime game since falling to FAU 104-101 on Jan. 3, 2005. Mercer is now 7-1 in its last eight overtime games, including three-straight wins.
Mercer is averaging 41.25 points off the bench over the last four games. Ike Nwamu leads the reserves at 13.0 ppg over that span.
Mercer has only been outscored in the second half one time this season (51-35 at Evansville). The Bears are shooting 45.4% (108-of-238) from the field and averaging 39.1 points in the second half this year.