- Associated Press - Saturday, December 19, 2015

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Demetre Rivers scored on a putback with 12 seconds remaining in overtime to help Mercer to a 69-66 win over Arkansas on Saturday night.

The win is the first for the Bears (9-2) over a Power 5 conference school since an NCAA Tournament-opening victory over Duke in 2014.

Jestin Lewis, following a career-high 28 points in a loss at Auburn, finished with 21 points for Mercer. Stephon Jelks added a career-high 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Rivers finished with 15.

Moses Kingsley led the Razorbacks (5-5) with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Anthlon Bell had 16 and Dusty Hannahs 10 in the loss.

After finishing regulation tied at 54, Mercer never trailed in overtime.

Arkansas had the ball with the score tied at 63 with 50 seconds remaining, but a turnover by Hannahs gave the Bears the ball back.

Mercer then missed on three straight shots, but Rivers grabbed his own miss - the Bears third offensive rebound of the sequence - and put it back in for a 65-63 lead with 12 seconds remaining.

Hannahs followed by missing a 3-pointer for the Razorbacks, and Mercer went up 67-63 on Jelks’ free throws.

Anton Beard closed the lead to 67-66 for Arkansas with a 3-pointer with one second remaining. Jelks hit two more free throws to go up 69-66, and Beard’s final half-court heave missed off the backboard to seal the win for the Bears.

Mercer led throughout the first half and by as many as 13 points in the second half. The 13-point advantage came after a 15-0 run for the Bears, including three 3-pointers by Jelks - the last of which rolled around the basket before dropping through to put Mercer up 41-28.

Arkansas responded with a 20-5 burst fueled by the hot shooting of Hannahs. The Razorbacks leading scorer hadn’t scored up until that point but had eight of Arkansas’ points during the run.

Hannahs tied the game at 54 for the Razorbacks with 18 seconds remaining in regulation, and Mercer had a chance to win the game in the final seconds when Phillip Leonard’s jumper came up short.

Neither team shot the ball well in the first half, with the two combining to go 13 of 52 (25 percent) from the field.

Mercer never trailed in the first half and led by as many as six points before settling for a 19-17 halftime advantage - despite shooting just 23.3 percent (7 of 30).



Mercer: After struggling to shoot the ball in the first half, the Bears finished strong - shooting 48.1 percent (13 of 27) in the second half and 4 of 9 in overtime. Lewis was 5 of 9 on 3-pointers.

Arkansas: Beard made his return for the Razorbacks after missing the first semester following a summer arrest on forgery charges. The sophomore, and All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team selection last year, finished with six points on 2-of-7 shooting in 18 minutes of action.


Mercer is at Ohio State on Tuesday.

Arkansas hosts North Florida on Tuesday.

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