Travis Smith scored 15 points in 23 minutes as Mercer opened its season with a 65-36 victory over Sewanee on Saturday.
The Bears shot at least 50 percent in each half, finishing at 53.2 percent overall (25 of 47), while holding the Division III Tigers, who counted the game as an exhibition, to 26.7 percent (12 of 45) from the field.
Sewanee scored the opening basket of the second half after trailing 30-18 at the break, but Mercer ran off 14 consecutive points for a 44-20 advantage. The Tigers went 7 minutes, 37 seconds without scoring.
Bud Thomas and T.J. Hallice scored nine points each and Jakob Gollon had eight points for Mercer, which finished last season by winning five games in the CollegeInsider.com tournament to take the title.
The Bears were voted preseason favorites in the Atlantic Sun Conference by the league's coaches.