It was a physical game when the Mercer County boys defeated neighboring Anderson County 71-66 Saturday night.
The game had 51 fouls (including one technical), six players fouled out and there were 64 free-throws attempted.
Mercer County Head Coach Josh Cook thinks the physical nature of the game will prepare his team come tournament time.
“This game was great for us because I felt like this was a regional tournament type atmosphere,” said Cook.
Anderson County scored the first two points and led 7-4 two minutes into the game.
That was the last lead they would have.
The Titans tied the game not long after, on a three-pointer by junior Will Hager. It wasn’t long after that they took the lead for good on a basket by junior Malik Dow, who finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks.
With Mercer leading 16-13 and only 36.6 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, things started to get chippy.
It was at that time that Anderson County’s leading scorer, Austin Cummins (22.9 ppg), received a technical found after throwing multiple elbows in the direction of Mercer’s Jackson Baughman.
“I thought we kept our composure really well,” said Cook.
Mercer freshman Trevon Faulkner hit the two ensuing free-throws as a result of the technical foul to give the Titans an 18-13 lead after one quarter.
The Titans controlled the second quarter behind the stellar play of Dow, who had six points in the quarter, and they took a 33-21 halftime lead.
“I just knew I had to step up tonight,” said Dow.
Things continued to stay physical at the start of the third quarter as the two teams had seven fouls combined less than two minutes into the quarter.