Mercer holds on to defeat S.C. State 76-73 in Cougar Classic

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP)—Brian Mills stole an in-bounds pass with 4.5 seconds left in the game and made two free throws to seal the win for Mercer over South Carolina State, 76-73, in the Cougar Classic consolation game on Sunday.

Mills finished with seven points. The Bears (5-7) were led by Shaddean Aaron with 20 points, James Florence with 14 and Brian Pfohl with 12.

The Bulldogs (4-10) scored 13 of the final 16 points in the first half to take a 37-33 lead at the break. Mercer came out hot in the second half using an 8-3 run to take the lead for good at 45-44. A 3-pointer by Robert Baker narrowed the Mercer lead to 59-56.

A jumper by Sam Dolan sparked a 7-0 Mercer run to extend its lead to 66-58 with six minutes left in the game.

S.C. State cut that to one at 72-71 on two free throws by Jason Johnson, who recorded his second consecutive double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The teams traded free throws and S.C. State forced the turnover with less than five seconds left in the game. That’s when Mills made his steal and was fouled. His two free throws were the final margin.

Thomas Bookman added 11 points for S.C. State.

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S. Aaron S. Aaron
8-11,  20 Pts
4 Rebs, 1 Assists
 S. Carolina St.
J. Johnson J. Johnson
5-15,  16 Pts
11 Rebs, 0 Assists

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