Mercer holds off Samford 93-87 behind Cummings

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Ross Cummings scored 32 points with four 3-pointers and made all 12 of his free throws, Ethan Stair added 18 with three 3s, and Mercer held off Samford 93-87 on Saturday to end a two-game skid.

Cory Kilby scored 17 points and Jaylen Stowe added 13 and two rebounds for his 100th rebound of the season for the Bears (7-12, 2-5 Southern Conference), who outshot the Bulldogs 55 to 46 percent.

Samford closed to 60-57 after Kevion Nolan and Josh Sharkey each scored five straight, then to 67-65 on Robert Allen’s 3 with 6:31 to play. Cummings’ two free throws sparked a 6-0 run for a 73-65 Bears lead and his 3 with 1:40 left made it 80-71. Sharkey’s layup drew Samford to 89-85 with nine seconds left, but Cummings iced it with four free throws.

Cummings broke open back-and-forth play with a 3-pointer and a 3-point play to put the Bears up for good, 13-11. Cummings hit back-to-backs 3s and Mercer finished on a 13-8 run for a 45-34 halftime lead.

Sharkey scored 27 points and had 10 assists and Brandon Austin hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points for Samford (12-8, 2-5), which won the rebounding battle 38-28. Allen added a career-high 16 points and Ruben Guerrero scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.