Brett Comer scored 21 points and Florida Gulf Coast claimed the first NCAA tournament berth in school history, knocking off top-seeded Mercer 88-75 in the Atlantic Sun championship game Saturday.
The second-seeded Eagles (24-10) became the first team in the 68-team field by snapping Mercer's 17-game home winning streak, tied for the sixth-longest in the nation. Sherwood Brown added 16 points and 11 rebounds as Florida Gulf Coast pulled away after a back-and-forth first half.
Brown sparked a 14-3 spurt that broke open the tight game, sending Florida Gulf Coast to the NCAAs in just their sixth season as a Division I program. The Eagles celebrated at midcourt, hugging and jumping around after getting their championship gear.
Travis Smith led Mercer with 16 points, but the Bears (23-11) couldn't overcome 39 percent (26 of 67) shooting from the field. They were denied their first NCAA bid since 1985.
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