NORTH ANDOVER, MA- Three players scored in double-figures as the Merrimack men's basketball team captured a 67-60 win over Saint Anselm Wednesday evening at Bert Hammel Court. The Warriors improved to 12-10 on the year and 9-9 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Hawks slide to 10-12 overall and 8-10 in league action.
Roland Davis (Deer Park, NY) poured in a team-high 16 points on the night while handing out seven assists. Wayne Mack (Paterson, NJ) and Aaron Strothers (Wareham, MA) both tallied 15 points in the win. Mike Clifford (Danvers, MA) and Tyler Young (Brooklyn, NY) each finished the game with eight points and six rebounds.
With the victory, Merrimack moved into a tie for seventh place in the Northeast-10 standings. The Warriors are locked up with New Haven at 9-9 after the Chargers fell to Assumption in overtime Wednesday.
Merrimack tied the game early at 6-6 as Davis banked in a jumper after 4:04 had elapsed.
Saint Anselm strung together an 8-0 run to claim a 15-9 lead with 11:16 remaining in the opening half.
The Warriors responded with nine unanswered points to go ahead 21-18 with 6:31 on the clock. Mack capped off the stretch by converting three free throws.
Merrimack closed out the first half by scoring 10 of the final 15 points to hold a 31-25 advantage at the midway point of the contest. The Warriors shot a blistering 56.5% from the floor in the first frame. The Hawks connected on 32.3% of their field goal attempts through 20 minutes of action.
Davis led Merrimack with 12 first-half points and 5-of-6 shooting and four assists. Mack chipped in with five points while Clifford, Strothers and Young all scored four.
Strothers opened the second half with a layup to increase the Warriors' lead to eight, the largest margin in the contest, 33-25.
The visitors drained a three to cut the deficit to one with 11:50 left to play, 44-43.
Saint Anselm knotted the game at 55-55 with 3:46 remaining as Roy Mabrey rolled in a lay-in and converted the ensuing free throw.
Young knocked down a pair of shots from the charity stripe to restore Merrimack's lead to two, 57-55.
Strothers added a thunderous dunk after intercepting a pass to expand the gap to four. Mack followed with a long-distance two-pointer to push the Warriors' advantage to six points, 61-55.
The home team sank 4-of-6 free throw attempts in the final 60 seconds of the game, including three from Wilfredo Pagan (Lawrence, MA).
Merrimack scored on 55.1% of its field goal attempts in the victory while restricting the Hawks to 37.3% shooting from the field.
The Warriors claimed a 33-29 edge in rebounds on the night, grabbing 25 defensive boards and eight on the offensive end of the court.
"We played well defensively and it bailed us out on the offensive end with our turnovers," said head coach Bert Hammel. "The team seems to be buying into the defensive philosophy and they are learning to fight through to earn the win."
Merrimack stays at home and will host local-rival UMass Lowell February 11 at Hammel Court.