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No. 14 Mercer shocks No. 3 Duke in Round of 64

Mar 21, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT

source: AP

AP Photo

Down goes Duke.

Jakob Gollob led five players in double figures with 18 points and No. 14 Mercer held Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker to a combined 6-for-24 shooting from the floor as the Bears handed the Blue Devils their second shocking Round of 64 upset in three years, 76-68. Duke lost to No. 15 Lehigh in the opening round as a No. 2 seed in 2012.

And with that, the celebration was on.

“You’re never too old to celebrate,” a fired up Bob Hoffman, Mercer’s head coach, told Rachel Nichols on CBS after the game. “Unbelievable what theses dudes believe about each other and they can accomplish. That’s the kind of heart it takes, and it’s amazing what they’ve done the last three years, believing at the highest level that they can accomplish what they did today.”

MORE: Lehigh, FGCU send regardsMercer guard can dance | Duke’s worst tourney losses

The Bears shot 55.6% from the floor, taking full advantage of the issues that Duke has had defensively all season long. They attacked Hood and Parker in pick-and-roll actions, conceding offensive rebounds in exchange for taking away Duke’s transition game.

More important, however, was the job that the Bears did defensively. Hoffman did his homework. The way to beat Duke is to play a zone, force them to become a jump-shooting team and dare them to try and cram the ball into the paint. The Blue Devils hit 15 threes and they grabbed 16 offensive rebound, but as a team they shot just 35.5% from the field and got nothing out of their two stars. Parker didn’t touches in the post and Duke didn’t get the ball into the high post nearly enough. It was a constant theme this season — the same thing happened against Clemson, Notre Dame, Wake Forest and North Carolina — and it came back to bite the Blue Devils at the wrong time.

That said, this is a very good, and very motivated, Mercer team. They beat both Seton Hall and Ole Miss this season, losing by three at Texas and hanging with Oklahoma in Norman. They have seven seniors that had to sit home and watch the team that they beat out for last season’s Atlantic Sun regular season title, Florida-Gulf Coast, make a run to the Sweet 16.

You don’t think that that had been stewing inside them all offseason?

You don’t think that Hoffman reminded them of that fact in every single practice?

It’s not fun watching a team you believe you’re better than become a global phenomenon. Mercer wanted their moment in the sun, and they got it.

They’re advance to fact the winner of this afternoon’s game between No. 6 UMass and No. 11 Tennessee, two teams that the Bears are well-equipped to beat.

Just how far can Mercer go?

“With these guys?” Hoffman said. “I don’t know who’s beating us.”

  1. usdcoyotesfan - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Mercer didn’t beat Duke, the refs did.

    • dollasnsense - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Go kick some rocks!

    • brookwell2013 - Mar 21, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      Wah wah wah wah wah!!! G-e-t O-f-f T-h-i-s B-o-a-r-d!! We get mad at each other here, we insult each other, we root like crazy for our teams, we disagree with each other all the time BUT WE DON”T CRY……cheesh…get him outta here….

    • bigmeechy74 - Mar 22, 2014 at 1:50 AM

      most pathetic comment in this blog’s history. congrats

  2. shadowoflambeau311 - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Blolue Devils!

  3. floriojr - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    how you like dem apples.. justice prevails..sorry your hero Coach K got bounced in RD1 . Overrated!

  4. vcupats - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    Biggest display of unity in this country since we got OBL.

  5. tigers182 - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Coach K and his Just-for-Men, is the most overrated coach in sports.

    • sportsfan18 - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:29 PM

      Just how do you define overrated?

      Is overrated having the MOST wins of any Division 1 coach?

      Is it having the 2nd most national championships ever as a coach? (Wooden).

      Is it having the 2nd most Final Four appearances at 11? (Wooden has 12).

      I think any program would love having this overrated Coach leading their program…

      • thebadguyswon - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        Allow the idiots their celebration. After Christmas, this is the Duke haters best day of the year.

    • gatorguru - Mar 21, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Coach K beaten again by inferior talent.Calssic choke.

  6. strokinmyego - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    This Duke team has been frauds all year and anybody who paid attention knew if they didn’t knock down threes they would lose. Honestly I’m not sure why Okafor wants to play for Duke. They don’t utilize interior talent at all and have become a perennial jump shooting team.

    Take out the national title in 2010 and Duke has been on the downswing. A fraud year in and year out.

    • thebadguyswon - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      Except for the whole part, where you can’t take out a National title. Kinda squelches your point, doesn’t it?

      • strokinmyego - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        Believe it or not I don’t hate Duke (I’m a K-State fan) I think Coach K is one of the best ever and actually like watching them play.

        You can’t take away the title but look at what Duke has become. A jump shooting team that usually dies by the three. No big men ever succeed in Durham anymore. They’ve lost to Lehigh, VCU, Mercer, almost lost to Belmont and were even pushed by Albany last year!

        They’re slipping. It’s not hate, it’s facts backed up by close to a decade’s worth of evidence.

      • thebadguyswon - Mar 21, 2014 at 8:14 PM

        Hey man….I will admit it. I hate their style of play. Relying on the three doesn’t work. I agree with you.

    • sportsfan18 - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Well, I don’t know how far to go back when you mean a “downswing”.

      Here are their yearly records since 2000

      26 & 9 13/14
      30 & 6 12/13
      27 & 7
      32 & 5
      35 & 5 Nat Champs
      30 & 7

      A quick recap here sir. In the past 6 seasons, Duke has won at least 30 games in 4 of the 6 seasons. Is this the “downswing” you’re referring to?

      Oh yeah, they won a Nat Championship in this period too as you don’t get to take it away. The other teams did NOT just lie down against them in that tourney and all had a shot just like Duke.

      28 & 6 07/08
      22 & 11 (Uh, this was their ONLY season in the past 18 seasons where they had double digit losses, such a “downswing”).
      32 & 4
      27 & 6
      31 & 6
      26 & 7
      31 & 4
      35 & 4 Nat Champs

      So in 8 of the past 14 seasons Duke has won 30 or more games…

      In their 6 lowly seasons in the past 14 yrs where they did NOT win 30 or more games, they ONLY averaged 26 wins per season and their lowest total was 22 wins.

      Only ONCE in the past 18 seasons have they had double digit losses.

      In 10 of the past 14 NCAA tourney’s (INCLUDING this yr where they just lost to Mercer) they made it to at least the sweet sixteen…

      In 4 of those 10 yrs they made it to at least the elite 8.

      In 3 of those 4 yrs, they made it to the final four

      In 2 of those 3 yrs, the WON it all…

      You do REALIZE just how many OTHER programs would kill for this kind of “downswing” don’t you? 8 yrs in 14 with 30 or more wins. 10 sweet sixteens (at least) out of 14 tourneys. 2 Nat Championships in 14 yrs…

      And on and on and on…

  7. joewilliesshnoz - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    How sweet it is !

  8. ranoversquarells - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    #Dook

  9. icanhazblogs - Mar 21, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    http://www.diddukewin.com

  10. spartyownsyou - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Hey Jabari I bet you wish you came to East Lansing to play for a real program now, huh? You probably could have played for a national championship this year.
    It’s ok though we don’t need you

  11. bucrightoff - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Perhaps Coach K should have spent more time worrying about his own team rather than bashing the A10.

  12. onlyoneleft - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Dook is now a football school.

  13. mvp43 - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    lollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollollol………………………..ah………………..ha.

  14. atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 21, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Because of who they are and their history Dook could recruit any player in the country they want to play any style they want, yet Coach Kry-zew-ski keeps building a team that’s dependant on the 3 ball year after year. Why not grab some interior players to do the job inside and drop the 3 point attempts from 45 per game to a “lean” 30?

  15. metintodd - Mar 21, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Coach K might consider retiring after this. I’m sure he’s sick of the 1 and done Duke players who think they’re God’s gift to basketball and go straight to the NBA, where they’re ill prepared for pro ball. This should be a lesson to college basketball players. There’s nothing wrong with you if you stay all 4 years in college. Mercer had 5 seniors on their team and look what they accomplished.

  16. 1historian - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    The trend for quite a while has been ‘one and done’, referring to the schools (like Kentucky) who recruit 5 star players every year knowing that in the majority of cases they will be there just one year and then declare for the NBA and leave. This often results in games like yesterday’s – 5 star freshmen being beaten by 2 star seniors.

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