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Hayes’ double-double leads Merrimack past Jefferson in opener

Juvaris Hayes scored 23 points and added 13 rebounds as Merrimack won its opener …

Photo: Merrimack Athletics

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The No. 18/18 Merrimack College men’s basketball team saw sophomore Juvaris Hayes (Paterson, N.J.) pick up right where he left off, posting a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds as the Warriors used a 24-9 second-half run to turn a six-point halftime deficit into a 61-56 victory over Jefferson University on Saturday afternoon. Merrimack will return to the Campus Center at Holy Family University tomorrow afternoon to take on the host Tigers in its final game at the East Region Conference Challenge

The Basics
Score: Merrimack 61, 
Jefferson 56
Records: Merrimack (1-0) | Jefferson (2-2)
Location: HFU Campus Center | Philadelphia, Pa.

Gallo’s Reaction:
Head Coach Joe Gallo: “I thought we had a great defensive effort the entire game. We had some first-game jitters offensively, especially in the first half, but we held them scoreless for a seven-minute stretch to keep it close. I thought it was really mature to not let our offense affect our defense. We made our run to start the second half, and then limited their scoring down the stretch to come out with the win.”

Marquee Moments:

  • The Warriors held Jefferson to just nine points over the first 10:28 of the second half, quickly turning their 31-25 deficit around
  • Merrimack outscored Jefferson by 15, 24-9, during the first 10 minutes of the second stanza
  • With the score at 40-39 at the 12:37 mark, Hayes outscored Jefferson by himself, 10-0, to give the Navy and Gold a 49-40 lead that they never relinquished
  • Defensively, the Navy and Gold limited the Rams to 8-of-27 shooting in the second half (29.6 percent), enabling the second-half comeback. For a near seven-minute span starting at the 8:23 mark, the Warriors held the Rams without a field goal

Rapid Recap

  • Redshirt-senior Tawayne Anderson Jr. (New York, N.Y.) netted the first points of the year for the Warriors, but Jefferson worked its way to a 12-6 advantage over the first six minutes
  • A free throw from senior Kyle Howes (Maynard, Mass.) followed by a triple from sophomore Jaleel Lord (Jersey City, N.J.) gave the Warriors a brief lead at 21-18 with 6:51 left in the opening half
  • A first-half ending run of 13-4 allowed the Rams to take a 31-25 advantage to the locker room
  • In addition to Hayes’ highlights to start the second half, junior Ryan Boulter (Mansfield, Mass.) drained his first triple of the year for Merrimack’s first points of the half after 99 treys last year, while sophomore Idris Joyner (Plainfield, N.J.) and freshman Khalief Crawford (Linden, N.J.) each contributed two lay-in’s apiece during the 24-9 stretch
  • Jefferson netted seven unanswered to pull within two, 49-47, but a three-point play from Crawford at the 4:33 mark allowed Merrimack to increase its lead back to six
  • The Rams were not within one possession over the final five minutes, with Hayes scoring Merrimack’s final six points to ice the game

Notes and Notables

  • After 12 double-doubles last year, Hayes picked up the 13th of his career with the 23-point, 13-carom effort. Six of his boards came on the offensive glass, while he led Merrimack with seven free throws
  • Merrimack’s bench outscored Jefferson’s, 19-4. In their first collegiate games with the Warriors, Joyner and Crawford combined for 16 points as reserves, shooting 7-of-11 from the field
  • The Navy and Gold improved to 3-2 all-time against Jefferson with Saturday’s win
  • Merrimack dominated the paint, outscoring Jefferson to the tune of a 22-point advantage (42-20) in the interior
  • Josh Bradanese led the Rams with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting

Up Next
The Warriors play their final game of the East Region Conference Challenge against Holy Family tomorrow on the Tigers’ campus at 2 p.m. from the Campus Center.

Mike McMahon is in his 12th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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