TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- James Florence stole the ball with 9 seconds left and sank two free throws to seal Mercer's 72-69 win over Alabama Sunday night.
The Crimson Tide, playing their season opener, held a one-point lead when Calvin Henry's layup with 13 seconds left put the Bears (2-0) on top. Florence's steal was his first of the game, but he scored 11 of his 23 points from the free throw line.
Alabama's Ronald Steele, who led all scorers with 25 points, missed a 3-point attempt as time ran out.
The teams were tied at 33 at halftime, then Mercer built the largest lead of the game, 60-51, with 6:18 left. The Crimson Tide went on a 7-0 run, eventually pulling ahead 67-65 on three Steele free throws with 1:42 remaining. Daniel Emerson, who had 18 points, restored Mercer's lead with a layup.
The Bears out rebounded Alabama 56-38.