MACON, Ga. -- Travis Smith scored 24 points to lead Mercer to an 82-74 win over South Carolina-Upstate on Saturday.
Smith shot 7 of 10 from the floor and made all eight of his free throws for the Bears (12-8, 5-2 Atlantic Sun Conference), who won their second straight game. Bud Thomas and Jakob Gollon each scored 12 points.
Mercer went into halftime with a 36-29 lead, and then took more control in the second half. The Bears went on a 9-2 run, capped by Monty Brown's layup to claim a 47-35 lead with 14:58 remaining.
Chris Smith knocked down two free throws with 7:58 left to give Mercer a 60-44 lead -- its largest of the game. It was enough cushion to outlast the Spartans (9-10, 3-3), who pulled no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Mississippi State freshman guard Malik Newman will withdraw from the NBA draft, but sources told ESPN he might explore other opportunities besides returning to Mississippi State.
Seton Hall sophomore Isaiah Whitehead will stay in the NBA draft and not return for his junior season.
Washington State's trio of Josh Hawkinson, Conor Clifford and Ike Iroegbu have withdrawn from the NBA draft and will play their senior season with the Cougars.