Mercer vs Furman Preview and Prediction
Mercer vs Furman Preview
Southern Conference action continues Thursday night as the Mercer Bears (5-8, 0-1) visit Greenville, SC to take on the once-ranked Furman Paladins (12-2, 1-1).
As it has numerous times this season, Mercer battled back from a double-digit deficit to position themselves for a big comeback victory only to come up short in losing 71-67 to Harvard in a neutral site game played Dec. 28 at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. Ross Cummings led all scorers with 21 points, while Djordje Dimitrijevic fueled a second half rally with 16 points coming off the bench.
Furman has been one of the most impressive teams in the SoCon thus far this season. The Paladins bring a 12-2 overall mark and 1-1 conference slate into Thursday’s matchup. Furman was ranked as high as #23 in the national polls earlier this season before dropping its last two games on the road at LSU and East Tennessee State.
The Paladins are a perfect 7-0 at Timmons Arena this season.
Players to Watch
Ross Cummings– He leads the Bears in scoring (14.8) and is the team’s best three-point shooter, making nearly 40 percent of his attempts. He doesn’t ‘wow’ you with his play, but he is always around the ball and makes the plays when his team needs him the most.
Matt Rafferty– The senior forward is second on the team in scoring (16.7) but leads the Paladins in rebounding (8.9), assists (4.4), steals (2.2) and field goal percentage (65%). Those numbers are impressive, but the 6’8 senior is the leader of this team on and off the court. He is a joy to watch.
Furman’s electric start to the season was not predicted by the coaches of the SoCon. In the preseason polls, Furman was picked to finish fourth in the conference, directly ahead of Mercer who came in at the fifth spot.
2018-19 Preseason Southern Conference Coaches Poll
Team (1st-place votes) Total
1. UNCG (6) 78
2. Wofford (4) 74
3. ETSU 67
4. Furman 57
5. Mercer 48
6. The Citadel 38
7. Chattanooga 30
8. Samford 26
9. Western Carolina 20
10. VMI 12
LINE: -8 Furman
Dan’s Bet: +8 Mercer
Score Prediction: Furman 76 Mercer 69