Georgia St. 81, Mercer 71,
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Chance Solomon scored 18 of his game-high 28 points in the second half as Mercer rallied to defeat Georgia State 81-71 Friday night in a semifinal at the Trans America Athletic Conference tournament.
Mercer (15-13, 10-8) beat Georgia State for the first time in three tries this season.
In building a 17-point first-half lead, Georgia State (11-17, 7-11), appeared to be heading toward their third consecutive easy triumph over Mercer. The Panthers took advantage of Mercer’s poor shooting to dominate the first half.
Mercer converted only 6-of-28 shots for a percentage of 21.4 and trailed 40-25 at intermission. By contrast, the Panthers were 16-of-34 from the field. But the Bears converted 13-of-16 free throws while Georgia State was 3-for-5 from the line.
In the second half, Mercer went on a 22-5 run. Reggie Elliot scored nine points during the surge and Solomon added a pair of 3-pointers.
Mercer shot 65.4 percent from the field in the second half, connecting on 17-of-26 shots while the Panthers hit only 9-of-38.
Mercer also continued to dominate from the free throw line, hitting 18-of-24 foul shots to finish 31-of-40 for the game. Solomon alone was 14-of-16 from the line. Georgia State was 15-of-20.
The Bears took the lead for good when forward Ledon Green scored a missed shot to give Mercer a 52-50 edge with 9:16 left to play. The Bears quickly extended their margin to 56-50 and Georgia State never got closer than 3 points the rest of the way as Mercer closed the game with a 15-8 run.
Elliott finished with 13 points and led all rebounders with 13.
Terrence Brandon led Georgia State with 17 points.