The Bucs were a 56-54 winner in improving to 9-19 and 4-9 in Southern Conference play. ETSU used a 16-0 run in the second half to take the lead for the first time at 48-45 with four minutes left.
“Guts, to be down 13 with eight minutes to go in the ball game and for all intents and purposes not playing well, they executed down the stretch,” ETSU head coach Brittney Ezell said about the comeback. “I thought the kids fought through some adversity. I’m really proud of them. It is a nice way to leave our home stand.”
The ETSU lead grew to four, 53-49, with a bucket from Shynia Jackson as two minutes remained in regulation. Jackson finished the contest with a double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Jackson posted her third double-double in the last nine games and tied her career high in rebounds. All three of her double-doubles have been in ETSU wins.
Mercer used Amoria Neal-Tysor free throws with 46 seconds left to tie the score at 53. From there, on the opposite end of the floor, Micah Scheetz laid in two of her 15 points with under 10 seconds to go.
The Lady Bears’ Shannon Titus went 1 for 2 at the free-throw line with 7.6 seconds remaining. The rebound went to ETSU’s Gabby Brown for her 10th of the game, then she sank 1 of 2 foul shots for her only point. Brown entered the game with 44 rebounds on the season with a career high of seven.
Mercer had a chance to tie the game and Jaron Dougherty made a 12-foot jumper, but it was after time had expired. Dougherty led Mercer (6-21, 3-9) with 18 points to go with 14 rebounds. Titus added 16 points, eight boards and four blocked shots while Jill Harris handed out 10 assists.
ETSU overcame a 28-16 halftime deficit. For the Bucs, the team improved to 3-18 when trailing at halftime and the previous two wins in such games saw two-point halftime deficits. Part of the rally can be attributed to Amaya Adams. She scored all 13 of her career-best points in the final 14 minutes. Adams was a near-perfect 4-for-5 from the field and 4-for-5 from the charity stripe.
Mercer had a block party Saturday as the team entered with a league-best 5.0 blocks per game. That average ranked 16th nationally and the Bears totaled 11 rejections against the Bucs. Titus had four blocks to go along with her 16 points and eight rebounds.
ETSU has one more league tune-up before the Southern Conference tournament, visiting Chattanooga next Saturday. The two met on Feb. 1 in Brooks Gym, where the Bucs dropped a 91-82 triple-overtime battle.
By defeating the Lady Bears, ETSU finished a second sweep over a Southern Conference foe this season. Western Carolina was the other team the Bucs beat twice.