JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – ETSU men’s basketball is still searching for its first conference win in their home gymnasium, as Mercer rallied to sink the Bucs on Saturday evening, 68-55.

The Blue and Gold led by as many as eight points in the early going, but couldn’t find a rhythm to close the first frame. Instead, the Bears closed out the half on a 17-6 run, taking a 31-28 advantage into the break.

Freshman guard Allen Strothers knocked down a jumper to cut the visitors’ lead to one just over a minute into the new half. However, the Bucs would never regain the lead.

The Bears shot an efficient 44.1 percent from the floor and made 9-of-19 shots from deep (47.4%). ETSU out-rebounded Mercer 35-28, but scored just ten points in the paint to the visitors’ 24.

Coming off a 42-point performance at The Citadel, Jordan King was held to 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Justice Smith led the squad with 17 points and six rebounds, while Jaden Seymour (11 pts) also finished in double figures.

Junior forward Josh Taylor played just one minute, after falling hard on his wrists in the opening moments of the game. Taylor was attempting a dunk when he was fouled by Shawn Walker Jr. – a foul that would be upgraded to a Flagrant 1, upon further review.

Luis Hurtado paced the Bears with 14 points on the evening, as Jalyn McCreary (12 pts), Jah Quinones (12 pts) and Kamar Robertson (10 pts) all scored in double digits.

ETSU (7-12, 3-3 SoCon) will stick around in Johnson City for the early part of the week, as they welcome in Samford on Wednesday night. Tip-off against the Bulldogs is slated for 7 p.m.