RINDGE, N.H. — Trailing 71-70 with four minutes remaining, the Merrimack College men’s basketball team saw the host Franklin Pierce University Ravens end the night on an 18-6 surge that featured an 11-0 run to defeat the Warriors, 89-76, in a Northeast-10 Conference duel from The Fieldhouse in Rindge, N.H. Despite the loss, Merrimack (11-6) still maintained its one-game lead over Bentley University (10-7) for second place in the Northeast Division with four games to play in the regular season.
Score: Franklin Pierce 89, Merrimack 76
Records: Merrimack (16-8, 11-6 NE10) | Franklin Pierce (13-11, 9-8 NE10)
Location: The Fieldhouse | Rindge, N.H.
- Merrimack raced out of the gates, moving ahead by a 12-4 margin in just 3:15. Franklin Pierce called timeout and quickly answered, scoring six unanswered in just one minute to make it a two-point game at the 15:26 mark of the opening stanza
- With Merrimack’s lead at two, 15-13, the Warriors embarked on their longest run of the half, netting 11 of the game’s next 13 points. Junior Juvaris Hayes and freshman Mikey Watkins combined for the last eight points of the 11-2 run, which ended with the Warriors ahead, 26-15. Merrimack’s grew to as many as 13 in the opening half
- Starting at the 7:23 mark, the Ravens used a 20-4 run to turn a 33-20 deficit into a 40-37 advantage for the hosts with under three minutes remaining. Merrimack, however, responded with a 7-0 stretch to close the half that featured consecutive 3-pointers for senior Ryan Boulter, giving the Warriors the edge at halftime, 44-40
- A back-and-forth start to the second half saw the game tied at 54-all nearing the 13-minute mark. The Warriors inched forward, 61-57, over the next two minutes to gain the advantage with less than 11 minutes remaining
- Franklin Pierce hit a bucket with 7:54 on the clock to give the hosts the advantage, 64-63, which proved to be the final lead change of the night. Trailing by six with 4:30 remaining, Merrimack netted five quick points capped by a Boulter trey to make it a 71-70 contest with four minutes even to play
- The Raven’s game-clinching stretch occurred at that moment. The hosts scored the night’s next 11 points, with Merrimack not scoring next until the 1:45 portion of the night’s final stanza
Notes and Numbers
- The defeat snapped Merrimack’s four-game winning streak, which had equaled its longest of the season
- Hayes led Merrimack with a double-double, his fourth of the season, with 19 points and 11 assists. He also added nine rebounds and four steals, narrowly missing out on his third career triple-double
- The nation’s leader in thefts moved into third place on the NE10’s all-time steals list, increasing his career total to 306 in 87 games
- Boulter (19), junior Jaleel Lord (13), Watkins (11) and junior Idris Joyner (10) all finished in double figures in scoring. Boulter and Lord combined to hit seven of Merrimack’s 10 3-pointers on the night
- Doyin Fadojutimi led Franklin Pierce with 29 points and six 3-pointers. The Ravens shot 52.6 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from beyond the arc on the night compared to .431/.370 for Merrimack
The Warriors will go for the sweep of Southern New Hampshire on Saturday when Merrimack and SNHU meet for a 4 p.m. tilt up in Manchester, N.H.