The Oglethorpe men's basketball team travels to Macon, Ga., tonight to play Division I side Mercer in a preseason exhibition game, their fifth exhibition game against a Division I team in the last six years and their second against Mercer.
The Petrels have played Georgia State twice, and Mercer and Samford once each over the past six years. They have led at halftime in three of the four contests to this point, including the previous meeting with Mercer.
This will be the first time the Petrels have taken the court for a game this season, and they will be without a key player for the game, but they will look to see how their uptempo style works against a Division I opponent, leading into the start of the regular season at Johnson University in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday.
"Our guys always look forward to these Division I exhibition games," says Oglethorpe head coach Philip Ponder. "I think the main difference between Division I and Division III teams isn't so much the pure basketball talent level, necessarily, but the size, strength and athleticism. Mercer is a veteran, well-coached team. Obviously, this will be the best team we play all year, and the goal will be to keep it close going into the latter part of the game. If we can do that, anything can happen."
Mercer is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, and is the consensus pick among both the league's coaches and media to win that conference. They have two players, forward Jakob Gollon and point guard Langston Hall, on the preseason All-Atlantic Sun team, though Hall will not be participating in tonight's game.