Mercer holds on to beat Furman 69-65

MACON, Ga. (AP) Stephon Jelks and Jestin Lewis combined for 26 points as Mercer started strong but then had to fight off Furman for a 69-65 win in Southern Conference action on Thursday night.

Furman's Geoff Beans hit a trey and Stephen Croone made a layup to close to 67-65 with 43 seconds left. Croone drove for another layup with six seconds remaining, but could not get it to fall.

The Bears (13-4, 3-1) had a strong first half, taking a 39-23 lead into the break. Croone, who finished with 27 points, nailed four straight 3-point shots to start the second half as Furman (9-9, 3-2) dominated the final period, 42-30 but never had the lead.

Jelks made 5 of 10 from the floor for 13 points, and Lewis hit 3 of 7 from long range for 13. Phillip Leonard added 11 points and Ethan Stair chipped in 10 for Mercer.