Mercer Brings Home the Championship
Mercer Basketball Returns to Hero's Welcome
Wednesday night the Mercer men's basketball team became the first team in the Atlantic Sun Conference to play in a post season final.
The Bears knocked off Utah State, 70 - 67, in the CIT Championship and Thursday they returned home to a hero's welcome.
Bears faithful filled the parking lot at Mercer University eager to help celebrate the schools latest championship.
"I think someone TP'ed some trees. The bear statue got decorated with a celebratory toga so it's pretty big," says Matt Williams, a Mercer super fan.
This win is so big Debra Leahy literally limped her way to the celebration in a walking boot.
"Because it's the first time our guys have done something of this magnitude. It's just an exciting time for Mercer," says Debra Leahy, a Mercer fan.
Sophmore forward Jake Gollon took the microphone and thanked fans for supporting the team this season. Then Gollon handed the mic to Senior Justin Cecil.
In the CIT a young Mercer squad rallied around the team's only Senior, Cecil, whose lights out play was a tribute to someone close.
"I just had it in my mind that I was going to do the best we can for Mercer and bring home a Championship. I also lost my Grandpa before the tournament so I made a promise to myself and my family that I was playing the tournament for my Grandpa. And we won it for him," says Justin Cecil, a Senior forward for the Bears.
"Not many people can say they won their last ever college basketball game. Him being our only Senior we wanted to do it for him. He was huge for our team this year and we're going to miss him a lot next year and we're happy to do it for him," says Bud Thomas, a Sophomore forward for the Bears.
With the victory, Coach Bob Hoffman ties the Mercer record for wins in a four year span. His players give him the lion's share of the credit.
"He just made us come together basically. We just play as one. It doesn't matter about individual stats or who's doing this. We just play as one and if one person has a good game we basically all have a good game," says Langston Hall, the CIT MVP.
Mercer is the Atlantic Sun's first postseason champion. Not bad for a team that just believed they could win.