The Mercer men's basketball team turned the lights out on Florida Gulf Coast early and withstood numerous Eagle comeback attempts to capture the Atlantic Sun tournament championship by a 68-60 margin at Alico Arena on Sunday afternoon. Mercer's win punched the team's ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985.

Mercer (26-8) exacted revenge on the same FGCU team that had eliminated the Bears from title contention the last two seasons. Senior point guard Langston Hall was named tournament MVP, while his classmates Jakob Gollon and Anthony White Jr. earned All-Tournament team selections.

Four starters scored double figures in Sunday's finale, led by Hall and White Jr.'s 15-point performances. Senior Daniel Coursey added 13 while Gollon chipped in 12.

With a capacity crowd primed and ready to go, the buzz suddenly died as a fuse blew in the arena, causing a 15 minute delay to tipoff. Mercer took advantage of the abnormality, storming out to a 7-1 lead early in front of a stunned FGCU fan base.

FGCU made a brief charge at the lead, ultimately tying matters at 13-13 before the Bears rattled off an energy-packed 20-2 run to assume an 18-point lead with seven seconds to go before halftime. FGCU senior Chase Fieler closed the period's scoring with three free throws, but the damage had been done.

Mercer disarmed FGCU's weapons during the surge, holding the Eagles to just two points for an 8:36 stretch while silencing the home crowd. Mercer's trademark defense clamped down on the Eagles throughout the first half, holding the team to 0-of-7 3-point shooting and 5-of-24 aim from the floor.

Out of the break, FGCU got the energy back in the building with a 14-6 run capped by a characteristic fast break alley-oop dunk from Brett Comer to Chase Fieler that sent the crowd into a frenzy. White Jr. helped keep the Eagles in check, coming right back with an and-one floater to keep the challengers at bay.

After a brief stretch that saw the teams match stride-for-stride, the Eagles gained the upper hand again as back-to-back and-one buckets for Filip Cvjeticanin and Comer continued to stoke the capacity crowd. At the conclusion of the stretch, Mercer's lead had shrunk to just a single point (43-42) midway through the half.

Mercer finally gained traction and reasserted control as Darious Moten converted an old-fashioned three-point play and then drew a charge to put the Bears back ahead by six with less than eight minutes to go.