Phillip Leonard and Ike Nwamu each had 18 points as Mercer finished strong to knock of VMI 90-81 in a Southern Conference battle Saturday night.

Darious Moten added 17 points and Jibri Bryan had 15 and 10 rebounds for Mercer (5-4, 1-0).

The Bears led 48-45 at the half and were up 73-62 with 7:56 remaining, but the Keydets chipped away at the lead until Jordan Weethree nailed a 3 to tie at 78 with 3:21 left. Nwamu answered with a 3-pointer to start a 12-point run that led to a 90-78 margin.

Mercer made 29 of 57 from the field (50.9 percent) while limiting the Keydets to 26-of-70 shooting (37.1 percent). Mercer dominated the boards 47 to 29 which led to a 42-16 scoring advantage in the paint.

QJ Peterson had 32 points to lead VMI (4-5, 1-1). Tim Marshall chipped in 20 and Brian Brown added 15.