THURSDAY, MARCH 06, 2003
Dolphins Fall To Mercer In Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, 73-57

March 6, 2003

Box Score

By KEITH PARSONS
AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA - Scott Emerson and Delmar Wilson keyed a second-half run with 3-pointers, helping top-seeded Mercer beat Jacksonville 73-57 Thursday in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament.

The Dolphins (13-16), the No. 8 seed, were playing without leading scorer and rebounder Calvin Warner, who was suspended a day earlier for an unspecified violation of team policy. Without him, Jacksonville dressed only nine players.

Aleem Muhammad had 17 points for the Bears (23-5), who will play fifth-seeded Central Florida in the semifinals. Central Florida beat Jacksonville State 68-51 earlier in the day.

Wilson and Clarence Baker added 13 apiece, and Emerson finished with 11 for Mercer.

Kevin Sheppard led Jacksonville with 22, and reserve Chip White had a career-high 15 - all on 3-pointers.

The Dolphins scored the first four points of the second half to trail 32-27, and had a chance to cut the deficit even more. But they missed three shots on one possession, and Emerson started a 12-0 spurt with his first 3 of the game.

Wilson followed with another 3-pointer, Wesley Duke added a powerful dunk in traffic and Baker and Muhammad made layups on the break to give Mercer a 44-27 lead.

Jacksonville rallied within nine on three occasions, the final time at 54-45 with 6:30 left. But Baker made two free throws and Justin Howard scored from in close to end the threat, allowing Bears coach Mark Slonaker to empty his bench with two minutes left.

He may have been trying to keep the margin down, since he was facing his old college coach, Jacksonville's Hugh Durham. Slonaker played for Durham at Georgia.

Without Warner, the Dolphins got pounded inside, losing the rebound battle 46-25. Mercer grabbed 22 on the offensive end.

White, who had played in only 19 of the previous 28 games, came in averaging less than a point. But with the depleted roster, Durham went to him early, and White came through. A 17 percent shooter from beyond the 3-point line, he made 5-of-8 against the Bears.