Samford used a three-point play by AJ Staton-McCray and late-game defensive stops by Nathan Johnson and Ques Glover to pull out a 70-69 overtime Southern Conference road victory over Mercer on Wednesday night.

The winning points came with 1:02 left when Staton-McCray got in the lane and finished while being fouled. He hit the free throw to give Samford its first lead of overtime. Samford got the ball when Johnson stripped the ball from a Mercer player with 40 seconds remaining.

Samford ran the clock before Bubba Parham fired up a contested 3-pointer with about eight seconds remaining. Mercer brought the ball up quickly, but before the Bears could get a shot, Glover tipped the ball into the hands of Staton-McCray as the clock ran out.

For the Bulldogs, the win snapped an eight-game losing streak at Mercer. The only time that Samford won a game at Mercer came in 2001. Perhaps more importantly, at least right now, the win also keeps Samford (17-9 overall, 11-2 conference) in a three-way tie with UNC Greensboro and Furman for first place in the SoCon.

Not much came easy for the Bulldogs against a team they beat, 78-69, at the Pete Hanna Center on Dec. 28. In this one, Mercer took a 29-26 lead into halftime behind 12 points in 13 minutes by Kamar Robertson. Jermaine Marshall had eight first-half points for Samford on 3 of 3 shooting from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Behind Glover, the Bulldogs seemed to be in control for stretches in the second half. Glover had 16 of his 22 points after halftime. However, every time the Bulldogs looked to be pulling away, the Bears had an answer. Samford took a 65-63 lead with 58 seconds left in regulation on two Glover free throws, but Mercer answered 20 seconds later on a jumper by Shawn Walker Jr. Neither team scored the remainder of regulation.

Mercer (12-14 overall, 5-8 SoCon) scored the first three points of overtime and had the lead until Staton-McCray’s three-point play.

Marshall finished with 17 points and four rebounds before fouling out with 1:13 left in regulation. Logan Dye had a tough night on the offensive end but managed 10 points and five rebounds. Staton-McCray had nine points, eight rebounds and two steals.

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