265 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Durham students react to Duke's lost to Mercer.

BRACKETS BUSTED: MERCER BEATS DUKE

RALEIGH, N.C. — Mercer wanted this.

The game, of course — the Bears certainly believed all along they could pull it off — but also the matchup. They wanted their shot at Duke.

Mercer coach Bob Hoffman predicted ahead of time, based on seeding and a gut instinct, that his team would get paired up with one of the most storied programs in all of the sport.

Hoffman said Duke wasn't a typical power-conference team, that the Blue Devils didn't have the size inside that high-major programs usually have — and he's right. Better yet, he exploited it. His big men did whatever they wanted inside as part of a brilliant game plan, paving the way for a 78-71 win against No. 3 seed Duke.

On the other end, Bears defense forced the Blue Devils to fire off shots from the perimeter all game. Combine some misses (Duke shot 35.5% from the field), an uncharacteristically poor performance from star freshman Jabari Parker and defensive lapses, and you end up with an opening for a potential upset.

CBS Station WMAZ was on Mercer's campus when they beat the No. 3 seed Duke Blue Devils 78-71. Mercer was a no. 14 seed.

Upset bids build and build, winning over the crowd section by section as the clock ticks down and the underdog is still standing. The Bears brought quite a few fans with them from Macon, Ga., to what appeared to be essentially a home game for Duke.

They believed, from the moment they stepped on the court, that they could pull off the upset. Each time Duke hit a big three — most of the time, courtesy of Rasheed Sulaimon or Quinn Cook — Mercer answered.

With fewer than three minutes remaining, Anthony White Jr. drained a three to tie the game at 63-63. Parker missed a three from the top of the key, and Mercer took the lead for good with 1:54 to play on a pair of Jakob Gollon free throws. On a beautifully drawn-up play, Daniel Coursey scored a layup and-one. Coursey's subsequent free throw put Mercer up five and essentially sealed the game.

All season long, Duke has been one of the best offensive teams in the country — and fairly dismal defensively. The Blue Devils' defense ranks 98th in the country in efficiency, per KenPom.com, and it looked every bit its part Friday afternoon.

Mercer shot 55.6% from the field in the game, and five different Bears scored in double figures.​

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
265 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.wfmynews2.com/story/sports/2014/03/21/mercer-beats-duke-ncaa-tournament/6701041/