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It’s the biggest upset of the NCAA tournament so far, and maybe we should just show mercy. The 14th seed Mercer defeated the No. 3 seed Duke 78-71 on Friday.
Duke had the lead at times in the first half and led by as much as seven. They had a 35-34 lead at halftime and shot just 35 percent from the field in the first half. Mercer took a 45-40 lead when Jakob Gollon made two free throws. Duke then retook the lead but Daniel Coursey gave Mercer a one-point lead. Tyler Thornton made three free throw with under five and a half to play to give Duke a five-point lead.
With a minute and a half left Coursey draws a foul and makes the free throws to give Mercer a five point lead. Andre Dawkins made a three for Duke, but then Anthony White made a layup to win the game for Mercer, according to Sporting News.
“You’re never too old to celebrate,” Mercer coach Bob Hoffman told CBS after the game, NBC Sports notes. “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.”
Duke was playing in the NCAA tournament for the 19th consecutive time. It’s the first time that Mercer is in the tournament since 1985, according to the New York Times.
Duke struggled on defense and some on offense, and Mercer took advantage. This is the second time in three years that Duke has lost in the tournament to a bottom quadrant seed.
Mercer will play the winner of Massachusetts and Tennessee.