- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

MACON, Ga. (AP) - Phillip Leonard had 15 points and Stephon Jelks added 12 with nine rebounds as Mercer dominated Samford 69-50 to open Southern Conference play on Saturday.

Mercer (11-3, 1-0) has won eight of its last 10 games, only losing to Ohio State 64-44 and Auburn 78-71.

The Bears had a 22-4 run to end the first half with a 36-15 lead, which was the fewest points they have allowed in a half this season. Samford never recovered from that onslaught.

Leonard, who made 4 of 6 from the floor, also had five rebounds and dished out five assists. Demetre Rivers added 11 points for the Bears.

Jamal Shabazz and Christen Cunningham led Samford (9-5, 0-1) with 15 points apiece.

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