Ike Nwamu had a team-high 15 points for Mercer (9-9, 4-1 Southern Conference) and Darious Moten added 13. The Bears started 9-1 in conference play last season on their way to share the league's regular season title.
Both teams made at least 50 percent of their shots but Mercer hit 15 of 22 from the free-throw line compared to 1 of 3 for The Citadel. Mercer also forced 12 turnovers and only committed three.
Mercer's starters combined for 31 first-half points as the Bears held a 40-31 advantage.