ATLANTA (AP) (Nov. 19) — Georgia Tech simply had too much size for the Mercer Bears.
With 6-foot-11 Alvin Jones scoring 18 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and swatting away eight shots, the Yellow Jackets were never in serious trouble Friday night as they downed the Bears 91-79 in the season opener for both teams.
“We used it (size) to our advantage,” Jones said. “We did play inside-out tonight. When the guards starting hitting outside, it opened it up more on the inside. It was a pretty decent game, but we’ve got to pick it up on defense.”
Jones scored 14 of points in the first half when the Yellow Jackets built a 49-36 lead. Georgia Tech led by 12 or more throughout the second half, twice building 20-point leads at 62-42 and 66-46.
Mercer’s Chris Hill led all scorers with 28 points, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
“Our guys didn’t back off,” Mercer coach Mark Slonaker said. “They hustled all night long and stayed in the game.”
Tony Akins added 16 points, and 7-footer Jason Collier and Jason Floyd each scored 15 for the Jackets, who made 10 of 22 3-pointers, with Akins hitting four and Shaun Fein three.
It was the kind of game that Tech coach Bobby Cremins was concerned about, with Mercer driving 90 miles from Macon to challenge an Atlantic Coast Conference team.
“Those kids get really fired up when they play against the so-called bigger schools,” Cremins said. “It is a dangerous game. It is the type of game you have to be very careful about.”
Torris Woolfolk added 11 points and Korey McCray 10 for the Bears, who shot only 38 percent while Tech was hitting 52 percent.
The victory lifted Tech’s record in Alexander Memorial Coliseum to 107-4 against teams outside the Atlantic Coast Conference during the coaching era of Cremins, who is in his 19th season.
Woolfolk gave Mercer a 2-0 lead at the start, but a basket by Collier and a 3-pointer by Akins gave Tech the lead for good with 18:42 left in the first half.