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UI Entertaining Ex-Teammate, Roused Lcsc

It’s a common storyline - local prep star signs at local university, it doesn’t work out and he ends up leaving for a smaller school.

That, roughly, is Jared Mercer’s tale. He was Idaho’s all-time leading prep scorer at Kamiah High before landing a scholarship at the University of Idaho under then-coach Larry Eustachy.

Mercer redshirted one season and barely played in two others before quitting and transferring to NAIA Lewis Clark State College in Lewiston.

“It’s worked out real well,” Mercer said.

The twist here is Mercer will get a shot at his former school when LCSC visits the Vandals tonight at 7:05.

“It’s a big game, not just for me, but for the team,” said Mercer, who counts UI’s Kris Baumann and Jason Jackman among his friends. “I’m just looking forward to playing them and giving them a good game.”

Mercer, a junior, has given LCSC a scoring lift since moving from point to off-guard. In LCSC’s last game, Mercer hit four 3-pointers and scored 17 points in the first half in a comeback win over Central Washington.

“He didn’t really play a lot the last three years,” LCSC coach George Pfeifer said. “The more he plays, the more he gets comfortable.

“He’s probably worthy of starting, but I think there’s something to be said for putting someone in that changes the complexion of the game. He’s playing starter’s minutes.”

GU entertains Titans

Gonzaga University will be facing the rare possibility of a home-court losing streak when it entertains Cal State-Fullerton in its final non-conference game of the season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Martin Centre.

The Bulldogs (6-5) are coming off a runner-up finish in last weekend’s Albertsons Holiday Classic at Boise State and haven’t played at home since Dec. 14, when they dropped an overtime decision to Montana.

Fullerton (6-2) comes in with an undersized, but extremely athletic, starting five that boasts exceptional scoring balance.

Junior guard Chris Dade is the Titans’ top scorer with average of 15.6 points per game. Senior forward John Williams is averaging 15.0 and junior forward Craig Whitehead is averaging 10.3.

Whitehead and junior center DeVaughn Wright, who both stand 6-foot-6, are coach Bob Hawking’s tallest starters.

GU, which is 66-6 at Martin Centre in the last six seasons, hasn’t lost two in a row at home since suffering back-to-back setbacks to Loyola Marymount (91-79) and Pepperdine (80-56) in 1991.

Davis worried

Idaho coach Kermit Davis is putting his best fret forward. LCSC (5-4) whipped Boise State last year and lost by just four to Utah State, where Davis was an assistant.

“The stupidest game I’ve ever scheduled,” Davis said. Why? Because of the “potential of what could happen,” he said.

“I’ve played George’s teams before and they’ll be very prepared.”

Said Pfeifer: “It doesn’t do a whole lot for our win-loss record, but our guys wanna play those guys. The last three years we’ve played four Division I teams a year, but (beating) Boise State hurt that. We had more (D-I) games lined up, but after (BSU) people called us and said they weren’t interested or their schedule had filled up.”

Around the leagues

Niek Meijerink, former NIC and LCSC player, is playing professionally in Holland. He’s on the same team with former Vandal star Riley Smith… . GU opens its West Coast Conference schedule at home next Thursday night against Santa Clara, the team that tied the Bulldogs for last year’s regular-season league title. St. Mary’s College invades Martin Centre Saturday night… . Eastern Washington will wear black bands on the shoulder straps of their jerseys for the rest of the season in memory of junior point guard Rodrick McClure, who was killed in a traffic accident over Christmas break.

, DataTimes MEMO: Changed from the Idaho edition.

This sidebar appeared with the story: AREA LEADERS Scoring Player, school FG-FGA FT-FTA 3pt Avg. Isaac Fontaine, WSU 76-160 56-74 27 21.4 Jason Jackman, UI 82-143 56-65 0 18.3 Lorenzo Rollins, GU 72-144 31-41 24 18.1 Ben Heimerman, Whit 51-71 38-55 0 17.5 Nate Williams, Whit 37-65 18-21 16 15.4 Jeff Mix, Whit 51-80 19-31 1 15.3 Carlos Daniel, WSU 52-104 38-56 0 12.9 Reggie Rose, UI 51-116 22-39 22 12.2 Matt Santangelo, GU 49-115 19-30 16 12.1 Gabe Jones, Whit 33-78 19-22 15 11.8 Karim Scott, EWU 47-86 18-33 0 11.2 Kevin Lewis, EWU 38-91 31-53 0 10.7 Troy Thompson, UI 53-112 19-25 0 10.4

Rebounding Heimerman, Whit, 10.3 (82); Mix, Whit, 9.3 (74); Daniel, WSU, 8.4 (92); Tavares Mack, WSU, 5.8 (35); Jackman, UI, 5.3 (64); Thompson, UI, 5.2 (62).

Assists Sean Weston, Whit, 4.9 (39); Derrick Elliott, UI, 4.5 (49); Williams, Whit, 4.0 (28); Santangelo, GU, 3.9 (43); Kris Baumann, UI, 3.5 (42); Kareem Jackson, WSU, 3.3 (36); Rollins, GU, 3.0 (33).

Steals Rose, UI, 2.1 (25); Elliott, UI, 1.9 (21); Rollins, GU, 1.8 (20); Scott, EWU, 1.7 (17); Fontaine, WSU, 1.7 (19); Weston, Whit (1.5 (12).

SCHEDULE Tonight: Lewis Clark State College at Idaho, 7:05; Whitworth at George Fox, 8. Saturday: Washington State at USC, 5 p.m.; Eastern Washington at Cal State Northridge, 7:05 p.m.; Cal State Fullerton at Gonzaga, 7:30 p.m.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Jim Meehan Staff writer Staff writer Steve Bergum contributed to this report.

Changed from the Idaho edition.

This sidebar appeared with the story: AREA LEADERS Scoring Player, school FG-FGA FT-FTA 3pt Avg. Isaac Fontaine, WSU 76-160 56-74 27 21.4 Jason Jackman, UI 82-143 56-65 0 18.3 Lorenzo Rollins, GU 72-144 31-41 24 18.1 Ben Heimerman, Whit 51-71 38-55 0 17.5 Nate Williams, Whit 37-65 18-21 16 15.4 Jeff Mix, Whit 51-80 19-31 1 15.3 Carlos Daniel, WSU 52-104 38-56 0 12.9 Reggie Rose, UI 51-116 22-39 22 12.2 Matt Santangelo, GU 49-115 19-30 16 12.1 Gabe Jones, Whit 33-78 19-22 15 11.8 Karim Scott, EWU 47-86 18-33 0 11.2 Kevin Lewis, EWU 38-91 31-53 0 10.7 Troy Thompson, UI 53-112 19-25 0 10.4

Rebounding Heimerman, Whit, 10.3 (82); Mix, Whit, 9.3 (74); Daniel, WSU, 8.4 (92); Tavares Mack, WSU, 5.8 (35); Jackman, UI, 5.3 (64); Thompson, UI, 5.2 (62).

Assists Sean Weston, Whit, 4.9 (39); Derrick Elliott, UI, 4.5 (49); Williams, Whit, 4.0 (28); Santangelo, GU, 3.9 (43); Kris Baumann, UI, 3.5 (42); Kareem Jackson, WSU, 3.3 (36); Rollins, GU, 3.0 (33).

Steals Rose, UI, 2.1 (25); Elliott, UI, 1.9 (21); Rollins, GU, 1.8 (20); Scott, EWU, 1.7 (17); Fontaine, WSU, 1.7 (19); Weston, Whit (1.5 (12).

SCHEDULE Tonight: Lewis Clark State College at Idaho, 7:05; Whitworth at George Fox, 8. Saturday: Washington State at USC, 5 p.m.; Eastern Washington at Cal State Northridge, 7:05 p.m.; Cal State Fullerton at Gonzaga, 7:30 p.m.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Jim Meehan Staff writer Staff writer Steve Bergum contributed to this report.


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