Ervin Mitchell delivered 37 points in Genesee's Western New York Athletic Conference (WNYAC) opener on Tuesday night, and the No. 18 Cougars came away with a 101-94 win over No. 17 Mercyhurst North East at the Anthony T. Zambito Gymnasium in its first of seven scheduled home conference games this season.
Alastair Cole scored six of Genesee's(15-2, 1-0 WNYAC) first seven points to help the Cougars get off to a 12-3 start.
The Cougars were efficient to start the game, shooting better than 60-percent from the floor during the first 15-minutes of the half.
GCC built a 38-26 lead late in the opening period, which included nine quick points from Naquil Jones before Mercyhurst used an 8-0 run to trim the Cougars' lead down to four.
Back-to-back buckets from Jones and Mitchell sent GCC into the break with a 42-36 lead, its first halftime lead over MNE in the last three meetings between the two teams.
Rebounding was key in the second half for Genesee and the Cougars held Mercyhurst to limited second-chance points, building a 74-54 lead midway through the final period.
Jones led the way for GCC on the glass, collecting a game-high 12 rebounds and as a team, Genesee out-rebounded the Saints 52-37 on the night.
Mercyhurst continued its fight, and used a 29-18 run in a span of six-minutes late in the half to cut the GCC lead down to nine.
The Cougars took back control with conversions from Mitchell, who scored on consecutive GCC possessions, and the Cougars were able to ice the game at the free-throw line down the stretch. Mitchell, who was 15-18 from the charity stripe in the game, went 4-4 in the final minute at the line and put the finishing touches on GCC's first conference win of the year.
The Cougars scored 100 or more points for the seventh time this season and are now 7-0 in games that they eclipse the century mark.
Mitchell added six boards to his game-high points total, Jones finished with a double-double (21 points and 12 rebounds), Cole finished with 14 points, Alex Morris added 10 points and eight boards and Da'Shawn Suber grabbed nine rebounds.
Genesee will travel to No. 14 Niagara County Community College on Thursday night for a 7:30 p.m. tip.