Mercer storms past Ole Miss 79-76

CHRIS BURROWS (Associated Press)
The Associated PressDecember 23, 2013
Mercer storms past Ole Miss 79-76
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Mississippi's Demarco Cox (4) gets the ball away from Mercer's Langston Hall (21) during an NCAA college basketball game in Oxford, Miss., on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman)

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Mercer point guard Langston Hall hit a 3-point shot with 0.6 seconds remaining as the Bears erased a seven-point deficit in the final six minutes Sunday to defeat Mississippi 79-76.

Mercer (8-4) placed four players in double figures, led by Ike Nwamu with 24 points, and survived a furious Ole Miss rally that wiped out a 16-point second-half lead. Hall scored 17 points, added six assists and four rebounds.

Lawrence Brown and Jakob Gollon added 10 points apiece for Mercer, who led 41-29 at halftime. Ole Miss rallied to take a 67-60 lead with six minutes remaining, setting up the decisive surge by the Bears.

Ole Miss (8-3) was led by Jarvis Summers with 21 points, Marshall Henderson with 18 and Aaron Jones added 10. Henderson hit a 3-point shot with 10 seconds left to set up the game-winner by Hall.

The trading of 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds highlighted a contest filled with momentum switches. Mercer, the defending regular season champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference, held a 52-36 lead with 17:39 left on a 3-point shot by Bud Thomas.

The Rebels answered with a 31-8 blitz over the next 11 minutes. A three-point play on a driving layup by Derrick Millinghaus gave Ole Miss a seemingly insurmountable 67-60 lead with 6:44 remaining.

Nwamu ignited the decisive Mercer rally, scoring 12 consecutive points before fouling out with 21 seconds remaining and the Bears holding a 74-73 lead. Hall hit a pair of free throws to give Mercer a 76-73 edge with 16 seconds left, setting up the Henderson and Hall shots.

Mercer was 26 of 60 from the field, 43.3 percent, including a 9-of-16 performance from Nwamu. The Bears were 6 of 20, 30 percent, from 3-point range, but Hall was 4 of 8. The Bears out rebounded the Rebels 39-35.

Ole Miss was 27 of 61 from the field, 44.3 percent, with Summers hitting 8 of 11. Mercer had the edge at the free-throw line, connecting on 21 of 26, while Ole Miss managed only 15 of 23.