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Mercer 74 Manor 47.

Postgame audio - Coach Howie Levy:

On January 15th Mercer County Community College (9-13) lost 70-67 at Manor, the Blue Jays' first and only win this season.

10 days later the Vikings weren't going to let what transpired in Jenkintown happen again on their home floor.

Holding a four point lead five minutes into the first half, Mercer set out on a methodical, well-executed zone offense clinic as Manor (1-14) switched away from man.

It was the opposite of what transpired in the teams' first meeting, where MCCC's execution versus man-to-man forced Manor into a zone and the Vikings moved the ball well but did not make any of their open shots.

Seeing 2-3 defense, Mercer teased the Blue Jays with swift, precise perimeter passes but did not solely settle for outside jumpers, working the ball to a player overloading the defense at the free throw line or slipping inside on the baseline to mix the palette up with a layup.

A four point lead quickly became 21-12 and then rapidly 30-17 on an open three by Rodney Walters, one of six triples for Mercer in the first half.

"It is nice that we came back and played well," said head coach Howie Levy. "The ball really moved and our defense was good. It is what we're trying to get to. This is one of the few games where we have a little margin for error."

"When we play well it does look beautiful, because that's the only way to do it," Levy added with a grin.

Towards the end of the first half Mercer scored from the arc as a drive freed Gary Carthan in the left corner, next dropped a nifty backdoor pass into Jonathan Jernigan's hands for two free throws going up and finally watched Carthan reverse inside the zone. A steal and selfless bounce pass for a layup at the buzzer gave the Vikings a 43-24 lead.

As Manor stuck to their zone, Mercer did not let up and their lead ballooned to 66-33 as frustrated Blue Jays began to argue with one another. When Manor finally switched back to man they trailed by 29.

Five Vikings reached double figures in the team's third straight victory.

Brandin Youngblood tallied 13 and Carthan 12. Anthony Obery and Jernigan each scored 10. Jermaine Emanuel recorded 16 points and seven assists. While Levy disagreed with the official statistician's definition of a turnover, Mercer was credited with 19 assists and just five turnovers.

Playing in Region XIX, where all teams with either a winning overall record or winning conference record advance to February's playoffs, Tuesday was an important win for Mercer. It drew them even at 5-5 in their league with tilts at Lackawanna, at Salem and versus Raritan in the next seven days.

Last season MCCC followed a loss at Manor with seven straight victories and wins in 10 of their next 11. A similar surge will be needed if Mercer hopes to play in the 2011 postseason.

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