Mercer tops VMI 80-71 to go to 3-0 to start SoCon

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) Phillip Leonard and Darious Moten combined to score 42 points as Mercer won its third straight game to open the Southern Conference season on an 80-71 win over VMI Monday night.

The last time Mercer started the conference season 3-0 was 2002-03.

Leonard finished with 21 points, converting 9 of 11 from the free throw line. Moten had 21 and was 10 of 15 from the line.

VMI now has lost three straight, but still came into the contest with an offense ranked fifth nationally, averaging 85.7 points per game, with 52 percent of the team’s points coming beyond the arc. Mercer’s defense held the Keydets to 24 of 64 shooting (37.5 percent) and just 12 of 35 from distance (34.3 percent).

QJ Peterson scored 31 points to lead VMI, hitting 9 of 21 from the field and 9 of 10 from the line.