Jelks with 14 points as Mercer edges Samford 68-65

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Stephon Jelks scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Mercer edged Samford 68-65 on Wednesday night.

Jelks was 4 of 12 from the field including four 3-pointers for the Bears (8-10, 2-3 Southern Conference). Demetre Rivers added 13 points and five rebounds, Jordan Strawberry had 12 points and four rebounds and Ria’n Holland chipped in 11 points.

The Bears had a 31-30 lead at the break and the teams battled back-and-forth in the second until Jelks sank a 3-pointer that gave the Bears the lead for good, 61-59, with 5:04 to play. A pair of free throws by Wyatt Walker brought Samford to within one, 66-65, with six seconds to play but Rashad Lewis replied for Mercer with two foul shots of his own and Samford’s Christen Cunningham missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Walker scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (12-6, 3-2).