NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Sophomore Juvaris Hayes finished with a double-double of 17 points and 16 assists – including 13 helpers in the first half – delivering the Merrimack College men’s basketball program a 76-66 win over Assumption College Greyhounds in the Warriors’ return to divisional action. The Navy and Gold never trailed against the Greyhounds on Wednesday night from Hammel Court.
Score: Merrimack 76, Assumption 66
Records: Merrimack (15-7, 11-4 NE10) | Assumption (6-15, 2-13 NE10)
Location: Hammel Court | North Andover, Mass.
- Merrimack entered the second half with an eight-point lead, but Assumption used a 15-8 start to the second stanza to close the gap to one, 46-45, less than five minutes into the half
- From there, the Warriors used a 16-2 run to blow past the Greyhounds. The advantage only dipped below double figures once over the remainder of the game
- Five different Warriors scored during that stretch, and Merrimack shot 4-of-5 from beyond the arc during the run
- Junior Ryan Boulter rejoined the starting lineup after coming off the bench in his return from injury on Saturday, hitting a three-pointer to cap a 10-4 start to the game for the Navy and Gold
- With the score at 14-10, Hayes assisted on three consecutive layups in a span of 65 seconds to give the Warriors their first double-figure lead of the night, 20-10, with 10:56 on the clock
- Sophomores Devon Moore and Idris Joyner combined for back-to-back buckets to increase Merrimack’s lead to 13, its largest of the half, but Assumption recovered to go on a 10-2 run that made it a 35-30 game with 1:19 remaining. At the buzzer, Hayes fed freshman Khalief Crawford for a three-point play that made it a 38-30 game at intermission
- Assumption started the second half strong, closing within one point, 46-45, by scoring 15 of the half’s first 23 points
- Merrimack’s 16-point surge started with a layup from redshirt-senior Tawayne Anderson Jr. Junior Troy McLaughlin netted his first two three-pointers of the night during the run, and at the end of it, the Navy and Gold owned a 64-47 advantage
- Assumption would not go away, climbing within nine, 66-57, with under six minutes left in regulation. The Warriors responded swiftly, scoring the game’s next eight points to increase their lead back to double figures, 74-57, with 3:04 remaining
Notes and Notables
- Hayes’ 16 assists are the second-most in a single game nationwide this season, trailing his own career-high 17-helper performance against Holy Family back in November
- The second-year point guard now has six double-doubles on the season and has scored exactly 17 points in three straight games. With three steals, he closed within four of setting a new career high
- For the third-straight game on this homestand, the Warriors’ bench excelled offensively. Merrimack’s reserves outscored Assumption’s, 25-0, shooting a combined 10-of-15 among the quarter of Joyner, McLaughlin, Moore and sophomore Jaleel Lord
- Assumption turned the ball over 15 times, resulting in 25 points off turnovers for the Navy and Gold
- Boulter canned three triples en route to 13 points. Crawford joined Boulter and Hayes in double figures with 12 points of his own
- Merrimack posted its second-best shooting performance of the year, finishing 55.6 percent from the field
One of Merrimack’s most important games of the season lies ahead on Saturday, when the Navy and Gold invade first-place Saint Anselm at 3:30 p.m. in Manchester, N.H. The Warriors took down the Hawks earlier this season and can complete the season sweep this weekend.