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MBB: Richmond Banks In 3-Pointer With 1.8 Seconds Left, Bentley Drops Merrimack

NORTH ANDOVER — In an intense final minute, Merrimack graduate forward Anthony Barry put back a missed layup from teammate Juvaris Hayes to give Merrimack a one-point lead with 11 seconds left. But, Bentley guard Ryan Richmond banked in a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds on the clock to give the Falcons an 86-84 win at a jam-packed Hammel Court.

Ed. Note — a version of this story will appear in Tuesday’s Eagle Tribune

“I went in after the game and told our guys to keep their head up,” said Merrimack head coach Joe Gallo, whose team finished the regular season 18-10. “I’ll coach that team any day. We battled. We lost on a shot that banked in from 28 feet away.”

The ending wasn’t without some controversy. After an inbound pass with just under 30 seconds remaining, the Warriors swarmed the Falcons, not allowing them to advance the ball. Bentley called a timeout with 19.9 seconds left on the game clock, sparking the Merrimack bench to call for a 10-second violation.

After Richmond’s 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left, the Warriors ran an inbound play where Hayes was on the receiving end of a lot of contact, but there was no foul called and the game ended.

Merrimack junior forward Tawayne Anderson Jr. had a career night, scoring 19 points off the bench and pulling down seven rebounds. Anderson Jr.’s previous career high was six points, and he was averaging just over two points per game this season.

“It was a good game for him,” Gallo said. “Obviously it was a tough, physical game and he’s a tough, physical kid. He did a really good job of making simple plays. I thought we were settling too much for 3’s, and we were 4 for 18 there. So we ended up going with a bigger and more defensive and rebound lineup, and he was a big part of that. It was a nice game for him.”

Hayes, meanwhile, finished just one rebound shy of his second triple-double of the season, scoring 19 points with 12 assists and nine boards. Ryan Boulter led the Warriors with 24 points.

Merrimack will now host its first NE10 postseason game since 2010. Friday night, the Warriors will host New Haven in the opening round of the tournament. The Warriors are also on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, ranked No. 5 in the last regional rankings but the Warriors are 1-4 in their last five games.

“I still think we’re playing well,” Gallo said. “Sometimes it’s just make or miss. That ball misses and we’re sitting here really happy. All it needed to be was a half-inch to the left. Our season isn’t over because we lose on a bank.”

Earlier this season, the Warriors came back from 16 points down to beat New Haven, 68-65, on Jan. 4 at Hammel Court.

“They’re a good, well-coached team,” Gallo said. “They’re a good shooting team and they game-planned well for our zone last time, so this will be a good matchup.”


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