NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Freshman point guard Juvaris Hayes (Paterson, N.J.) recorded his 10th double-double of the season, recording 21 points and 10 assists, as the Merrimack College men's basketball team celebrated Alumni Day with a 78-76 victory over Saint Anselm on Saturday afternoon at Hammel Court, avenging a loss earlier this season to the Hawks.
Score: Merrimack 78, Saint Anselm 76
Records: Merrimack (17-6, 11-5 NE10) | Saint Anselm (13-7, 9-7 NE10)
Location: Hammel Court | North Andover, Mass.
The Turning Point:
After a 5-0 spurt gave Saint Anselm a 29-20 lead with 7:48 left in the first half, from that point on the Warriors outscored the Hawks by 17, 23-6, to take an eight-point lead into the halftime break. Freshman Jaleel Lord (Jersey City, N.J.) came off the bench and scored eight of his 13 points during the run, and despite a prolonged comeback effort from the Hawks, the Warriors never trailed in the second half.
NE-10 Postseason Outlook:
The top-five teams in the Northeast Division advance to the NE-10 Championship, with the fifth seed playing the fourth seed out of the Southwest in the opening round on Friday, Feb. 24. The top-three finishers have a bye until the quarterfinals on Sunday, Feb. 26. The Warriors have five games remaining, three of which are at home.
1) SNHU (12-4)
2) Merrimack (11-5)
3) Saint Anselm (9-7)
4) Franklin Pierce (8-8)
5) Stonehill (7-9)
6) Bentley (7-9)
7) Assumption (4-12)
8) Saint Michael's (4-12)
How It Happened (First Half)
- The first 4:26 of the game saw the visitors create an 11-5 advantage before a quick 3-0 spurt from the Warriors made it a one-possession game, 11-8, with 14:46 remaining. Redshirt-junior Tawayne Anderson Jr. (Garden City, N.Y.) answered a triple from Cody Ball to cut the Warriors' deficit to four, 16-12, with 13:08 on the clock
- The Hawks – who entered the day as one of the top scoring programs nationwide – used consecutive layups from Tim Guers and Kyle Green to make it a nine-point game. After the Warriors worked the deficit down to four, the Hawks ripped off five unanswered points to increase their lead to nine, 29-20, with 7:48 to play
- Merrimack rallied from there, using a 13-2 run to take the advantage away from Saint Anselm. Sophomore Ryan Boulter (Mansfield, Mass.) and freshman Juvaris Hayes (Paterson, N.J.) combined for nine points during the stretch, while graduate forward Anthony Barry (Uxbridge, Mass.) capped the stretch with a lay-in at the 4:16 mark to make it a 33-31 game
- Over the final four minutes, the Warriors outscored the Hawks, 10-4. Freshman Jaleel Lord (Jersey City, N.J.) pulled up from beyond the arc to hit a 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining, and sophomore Troy McLaughlin (Old Tappan, N.J.) converted a driving layup to cap off the first-half scoring, making it a 43-35 game after 20 minutes
How It Happened (Second Half)
- Cody Ball hit a pair of 3-pointers as the Hawks started the second half on an 8-4 run to pull within four, 47-43. The Warriors punched back with a 9-0 spurt capped off by a triple from Lord to build a 13-point lead and forcing the visitors to use a timeout with 15 minutes left
- A trio of long balls including back-to-back treys from Guers contributed to a 13-4 run for Saint Anselm cutting the deficit to four points at 60-56 before the Warriors used a timeout with 11:38 on the clock. Hayes picked up his 10th double-double of the season right at the midway point of the half, dishing to Barry to keep Merrimack's advantage at four, 64-60
- Four points from Hayes increased the Warriors' lead to seven, 74-67, with 5:04 to play. Ball connected on a straightaway trey at the other end to pull the Hawks within four, and Harrison Taggert hit a lay-in to make it five unanswered points and trim Merrimack's lead down to two with 3:54 remaining
- Barry banked in a jumper with 3:27 left to answer Taggert's jumper. The Hawks pulled within two points on multiple occasions over the final four minutes, but on their final possession Saint Anselm turned the ball over to the Warriors with 1.7 seconds remaining and Hayes dribbled the clock out to give the hosts their 17th win of the season
Inside The Numbers
- For the first time since the 2009-10 season – the last NCAA Tournament appearance for the Warrriors – Merrimack has at least 17 wins in a season. It is the 16th time in program history that the Warriors have won at least 17 games in a year
- Hayes entered the game as the conference's and nation's leader in assists, and increased his season average after Saturday's performance. His 21-point effort marked his first 20-point game since the last game of 2016 and his sixth overall
- Merrimack now has won at least five games on two occasions this year and is currently on its third winning streak of at least four games
- The Navy and Gold employed a balanced offense on Saturday, with five players scoring in double figures. Howes finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Lord finished the afternoon 5-of-7 shooting from the field
- Merrimack's victory snapped the Hawks' seven-game winning streak and gave the Warriors a two-game lead in the Northeast Division
Merrimack hosts Stonehill at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night for the second annual RA Challenge. Students across campus are invited to attend the game with their resident assistants to support the Warriors, and the building with the highest attendance will receive a pizza party courtesy of the Office of Residence Life. In-game giveaways will be distributed throughout the game.