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College basketball: No. 14 Mercer upset No. 3 Duke

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Mercer forward Jakob Gollon (20) and guard Langston Hall (21) celbrate after defeating Duke 78-71 in an NCAA college basketball second-round game against Duke, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Raleigh, N.C.(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The Associated Press

First published Mar 21 2014 09:47PM
Updated Mar 21, 2014 11:16PM

Raleigh, N.C. • Dunk City is long gone. Make way for the next bunch of bracket busters from the little-known Atlantic Sun Conference: Mercer.

The 8,300-student school from Macon, Ga., delivered the biggest shocker in an already topsy-turvy NCAA tournament on Friday, going into Duke’s backyard and knocking off the No. 3 seed Blue Devils 78-71.

"This," Atlantic Sun player of the year Langston Hall said, "is what March Madness is all about."

The 14th-seeded Bears — with a starting lineup of five seniors — came back from five points down in the last 4:52 as Duke’s offense collapsed.

They sent home one of the true blue-blood programs, coached by Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski and starring freshman Jabari Parker, sure to be one of the top NBA picks this year.

Mercer is coached by former Oklahoma Baptist player Bob Hoffman, who has banged around the coaching ranks from women’s teams to the American Basketball Association to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League.

Next up: 11th-seeded Tennessee, which upset sixth-seeded Massachusetts 86-67, on Sunday in the third round.

Jakob Gollon scored 20 points and Daniel Coursey scored 17, helping the Bears overcome a season-high 15 3-pointers from Duke.

Wichita State 64, Cal Poly 37 • In St. Louis, Cleanthony Early had 23 points and unbeaten Wichita State faced no resistance from Cal Poly, going to 35-0 for the best start in NCAA history with a rout of Cal Poly.

The Shockers (35-0) dominated from the tip-off against the only team with a sub-.500 record in the tournament. With the exception of Early, most of the glaring numbers were on defense. The losers managed 13 points in the first half and shot 21 percent.

Malik Love had nine points for Cal Poly (14-20), which won the Big West tournament as the No. 7 seed and beat Texas Southern in First Four game before being held to a season low for points. Chris Eversley, the Big West tourney MVP and coming off a 19-point game, was held to six points on 2-for-14 shooting.

Tennessee 86, UMass 67 • In Raleigh, N.C., Jarnell Stokes scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Tennessee.

Jordan McRae added 21 points for the Volunteers (23-12), the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Regional.

Tennessee had little trouble with the sixth-seeded Minutemen (24-9), shooting 54 percent from the field and handling UMass’ fullcourt pressure in a surprisingly one-sided performance that included another solid defensive showing.

Kentucky 56, Kansas State 49 • In St. Louis, Julius Randle had 19 points and 15 rebounds, Aaron Harrison finished with 18 points and No. 8 seed Kentucky beat Kansas State to earn a date with top-seeded Wichita State.

The preseason No. 1, Kentucky (25-10) is finally starting to live up to the expectations that came with its heralded recruiting class. John Calipari’s bunch nearly knocked of Florida in the SEC title game last week.

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