(RALEIGH, N.C.) — For the second time in three years the Duke Blue Devils were upset by a double-digit team in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. On Friday the 14th-seeded Mercer Bears knocked off (3) Duke by a final of 78-71 in the Midwest Regional.
The Atlantic Sun champions, Mercer narrowly missed out on the “Big Dance” last year after falling to Florida Gulf Coast in the conference tournament final. After beating FGCU this time around, Mercer used a 20-5 run in the second half to seal the victory over one of college basketball’s most storied programs.
Jakob Gollon scored a game-high 20 points while Daniel Coursey added 17 for the Bears, who trailed 35-34 at halftime. In the second half, Duke looked to take control of the game. The Blue Devils 63-58 lead with five minutes remaining following a Jabari Parker three-point play and a trio of free throws from Tyler Thornton. Those would be the final points Duke scored until the last minute of play.
Mercer locked down defensively while hitting key free throws down the stretch, including 12 of 14 in the final two minutes, to pick up the first NCAA Tournament win in program history.
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Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com