Season Recap: Men’s Hoops Highlights 2011-12 with 10th-Straight Playoff Trip
The Merrimack men's basketball team reached the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament for the 10th-consecutive season to cap off the 2011-12 campaign. The Warriors posted a 15-12 overall record with a 12-10 mark in league action this winter and a 9-4 record at home.
Merrimack earned the sixth seed in the tournament and suffered a first-round loss at third-seeded Stonehill, the eventual Northeast-10 Tournament champion, to close out the year.
The Warriors opened the season with a three-game winning streak as they defeated Bloomfield, Felician and Franklin Pierce. After enduring its first loss of the season to Holy Family, Merrimack responded with a five-point victory over Philadelphia.
Bert Hammel's squad posted a combined record of 5-7 in the months of December and January to sport a 10-10 mark heading into the final month of the regular season. The Warriors strung together five-straight wins to kick off February. During that span, Merrimack claimed home victories over Stonehill, Saint Anselm, UMass Lowell, Saint Michael's and Southern New Hampshire.
The Warriors dropped a 73-60 decision at Franklin Pierce in the regular season finale.
Merrimack's Class of 2012 became just the second senior class in program history to boast three 1,000-point scorers. Roland Davis (Deer Park, NY) accomplished the feat in the Warriors' season-opening win over Bloomfield with a 33-point performance. Wayne Mack (Paterson, NJ) eclipsed the millennium mark in Merrimack's home-opener as he scored 22 points.
Aaron Strothers (Wareham, MA) became the third Warrior in 2011-12 and 39th member of the 1,000-point club at Merrimack January 31 in a narrow loss at Bentley.
Mack led the Warriors in scoring as he averaged 16.6 points per game this season. The senior guard was tabbed to the Northeast-10 All-Conference first team as well as the NABC All-Region first team and Daktronics All-Region second team. Mack also received All-America Honorable Mention from the Division II Bulletin.
Strothers ranked second on the team in scoring with 13.5 points per contest while adding 5.4 rebounds per game. Mike Clifford (Danvers, MA) paced Merrimack with 8.9 boards per game and his 13.3 points per game were good for third on the squad. Davis also averaged double figures on the year with 11.9 points per contest while dishing out a team-high 114 assists.
Prior to the start of the season, Merrimack renamed its home court in honor of head coach Bert Hammel. The Warriors' hardwood was emblazoned with its new name, Bert Hammel Court, October 22 in a ceremony attended by friends, family and alumni. Hammel completed his 32nd season on the Merrimack sideline in 2011-12 and owns a career record of 474-435.
The Warriors will depart five seniors this year while seven players will return next season. Wilfredo Pagan (Lawrence, MA), Juan Carlos Rosich (San Jose, Costa Rica), Davis, Mack and Strothers will all graduate this spring.
Before the opening weekend of the 2011-12 campaign, the Merrimack men's basketball team added a 13th player to the squad. The Warriors drafted 10-year old Nick Napolitano through Team IMPACT and instantly made him part of the family. Nick sat on the bench during games, attended practice and traveled to some away games this season.