Mercer overpowers Citadel, 88-72

A record crowd of 4,772 fans packed Mercer’s 3,500-seat Hawkins Arena on Saturday as the Bears honored Jibri Bryan, the Mercer basketball player who died earlier this week.

The Bears remembered their late teammate before the game, then hammered The Citadel by 88-72 for their fourth straight victory.

“They have the best atmosphere in the league on any given day, and today was certainly special for them,” said Citadel coach Duggar Baucom, whose team fell to 10-14 overall and 3-8 in the Southern Conference. “I just hate they had to watch us play the way we played. We played like we didn’t know each other.”

The Citadel shot just 25 percent on 3-pointers (11-43) and made only 13 of 26 from the foul line, trailing by 24 points with nine minutes to go.

“It’s disappointing, and it’s got to get better,” Baucom said. “That’s on me. We’ve got to get back to doing what we are supposed to do, and how we are supposed to do it. It’s amazingly frustrating that we did not play better than we did.”

Quinton Marshall scored 18 points, freshman Quayson Williams 12 and Warren Sledge 10 for the Bulldogs, who are at home against Samford on Monday.

Stratford High School product Demetre Rivers scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Bears (18-6, 8-3). Andrew Fisher had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Stephen Jelks scored 14 points for Mercer.

Bryan, 23 and a graduate-student player for the Bears, was shot and killed in downtown Macon last Tuesday. A second arrest in his slaying was made Friday night in Decatur, Ga.

Mercer also was without two starters who had been suspended. The suspensions were unrelated to Bryan’s death, the school said.