SAVANNAH, GA — Ria’n Holland hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining to lift Mercer to a 70-66 win over East Carolina in the Savannah Invitational on Friday.
Holland finished with a career-high 26 points as the Bears (4-1) advanced to meet Akron, an 84-75 winner over Air Force in a game that followed the Mercer-ECU matchup.
The Pirates (4-2) will meet the Falcons (5-1) at 5 p.m. today, followed by the championship tilt between Mercer and the Zips (4-1) at 7 p.m.
ECU rallied from a 31-20 deficit at the half to lead 66-65 on a free throw by Andre Washington before Holland connected from beyond the arc. Demetre Rivers had a steal for the Bears with seven seconds to go and Jordan Strawberry sealed the outcome with a pair of free throws.
Mercer had an early 17-3 run.
Kentrell Barkley stepped up in the Pirates’ comeback, finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. B.J. Tyson had 15 points for ECU and Washington added 10.
Rivers, Stephon Jelks and Ryan Johnson each had 10 points for the Bears.
Deng Riak had eight points and five rebounds for the Pirates. Washington had six rebounds as ECU had a 38-34 lead on the boards.
The Pirates had just 11 turnovers.