Boyle coach Andy Moberly said the team started slowly partly because of the few number of practices the players had together after football season, and also because of his coaching job. He said he expected the team to come out of the gate playing like Wayne or Mason County, but didn't account for changes he may have to make.
"It's night and day," Moberly said on the differences between the early play and now. "I'll take full blame for the early part of the season, thinking our team was somebody else. I was wanting to coach them differently than what their abilities are."
Boyle's players have expanded their individual roles as well, and those new styles meshed to help beat Mercer. Guard Blake Jones, sometimes seen as only a 3-point threat, finished with 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, and guard Daniel Potts has embraced becoming a scorer, finishing with 15 points.
Jones' board work came in handy for the Rebels, who won the rebounding battle 42-36 and who had 16 offensive boards.
"When our 5-11 2-guard (Jones) has 10 rebounds, you know that he's being active," Moberly said. "You know that he wants it."
"A lot of teams isolate me on the 3-point line and get people out on me," Jones said. "Attacking the glass opens up a new dimension for me. I'm able to open up 3-pointers that way, as well as score off some offensive boards as well.
"That was one of the key points to the game. We knew they were going to attack the boards and so everybody needed to go to the boards."
For Potts, it has been a season of evolving. Moberly said the junior used to eschew his own shot to create for his teammates. But the Boyle coach said he thinks the guard has finally accepted that the Rebels need him to do more on offense than just dish.
"We've had our battles, him and I, (assistant) coach (Lynnwood) Parsons and him, and it's all been about the things he needs to do for us to be successful," Moberly said. "You have to take what the defense gives you, and Daniel has finally figured that out and that's why he's playing so much better. Without him, we don't win this game and we don't win the last few games."
Boyle had no shortage of players contributing to the win. Derek Vonckx scored 14 of his game-high 18 points in the first half as Boyle opened up a 39-30 halftime lead.
Moberly said his team's game plan was to drive to the basket and be aggressive on the offensive glass. Mercer coach Greg Edwards said he had the same idea.
"That sounds a lot like my game plan," Edwards said. "That's what I told our guys, too, but when we took it to the basket and got fouled, we couldn't step up there and make the free throws."
Mercer hit just 14 of 33 free throws. The Scotties shot better from the field (43.8 percent) than they did from the line (42.4). Boyle wasn't much better, going just 7-for-18 in the second half and 13-for-25 for the game from the free-throw line. The Rebels finished 30-for-63 from the field for 47.6 percent for the game, and shot 53.3 percent in the first half.
Mercer got a big game from senior John Lyons, who finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, but he also had seven turnovers. Senior Clif Watkins led Mercer with 12 points.
"I was disappointed in our effort," Edwards said. "I didn't think we gave near the intensity we had the other night in the Lincoln game. Tonight, we just didn't bring it."
BOYLE (9-12) - Seth Tamme 2, Patrick Horn 3, Blake Jones 14, Daniel Potts 15, David White 6, Brian Staed 4, Zach Cooley 6, Andrew Bertram 4, Smith Ahnquist 2, Derek Vonckx 18, Brandon Smith 2.
MERCER (8-12) - Clif Watkins 12, John Lyons 11, Kameron McRay 3, Daniel Goodpaster 9, John Wickliffe 4, Michael Bottoms 8, Jordan Lyons 8, Bill Davis 1, Matt Dixon 2, Colby Warren 3.