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.
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.
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SOURCE: USA Today