PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- James Florence scored 33 points to lead Mercer past Bucknell on Friday night, 89-80.
Daniel Emerson had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Bears (1-0), who pulled away in the final minutes of a game that had 10 second-half lead changes.
Bryson Johnson led Bucknell (0-1) with 18 points on 6 of 10 shooting behind the 3-point arc. The Bison stayed close for most of the game by hitting 61 percent of its 3-point attempts.
The game was tied 71-71 before Brandon Moore's lay-up with 4 minutes to play put Mercer up for good. Jeff Smith scored eight of his 16 points on the Bears' next three possessions to build a 81-74 lead with 1:08 to play.
Florence, a preseason All-Atlantic Sun selection, also had five rebounds and four assists for the Bears.
The game kicked off the World Vision Invitational round-robin tournament.