(ASHEVILLE, NC) – The 7th seeded Mercer Bears utilized a great defensive effort to spark their offense in route to an 81-53 blowout win against the 10th seeded Catamounts of Western Carolina in the first round of the 2022 Ingles Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville.

“It all started with our defense,” said Mercer coach Greg Gary. “I thought we were tough today early in the first half to set the tone, and these guys did a great job in setting the tone.”

The Bears held the Catamounts to 33% shooting from the field, including 25% from 3FG while also forcing 13 turnovers that led to 12 points on the offensive end while controlling the boards 39-31.

Mercer was led by Junior guard Kamar Robertson with 16 points, twelve rebounds, and four assists. James Glisson III added 13 points, while Jalen Johnson poured in eleven points including three of six from behind the arc. Glisson attributes his growing success to the contributions of his teammates.

“I feel like each game, I’ve gained more confidence and understanding of what I need to do with leading everybody,” he said. “I feel that coming into that role has been much easier with my teammates accepting it and always being there for me. Anytime I do something wrong, they always hold me accountable, which is good.”

There wasn’t much wrong for the Bears tonight as they shot 54% from the field, including 55% from 3FG. Mercer also logged 15 assists in the win, a stat that the coach saw coming.

“Our ball movement, player movement, and rotations made it hard for them to double,” Gary said. “So our guys did a great job with moving the basketball and our post guys did a great job of posting up.”

The Catamounts were led by Graduate guard Nicholas Robinson with 14 points, twelve rebounds, and five assists. Mercer takes on #2 Furman at 6 pm Saturday in the second round.