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Le Moyne stops Merrimack in NE10 Semifinals; Warriors await NCAA fate

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After a first half that featured seven ties, five lead changes and only a three-point disparity, the Merrimack College men’s basketball team’s hopes at an Northeast-10 Championship were derailed by a hot-shooting Le Moyne College program, 83-55, from Ted Grant Court in the conference semifinals on Wednesday night. A noteworthy moment for the Warriors came in the second half, as sophomore Juvaris Hayes picked up his 115th steal of the season to set a new NE10 single-season record.

NE10 Championship Schedule:
Quarterfinals ­ Sunday, February 25
Game 3:  Le Moyne (No. 1 seed SW) def. Stonehill (No. 4 seed NE) – 99-60
Game 4:  Saint Anselm (No. 1 seed NE) def. Southern Connecticut (No. 4 seed SW) – 93-87
Game 5:  Bentley (No. 3 seed NE) def. Saint Rose (No. 2 seed SW) – 68-65
Game 6:  Merrimack (No. 2 seed NE) def. New Haven (No. 3 seed SW)  – 75-59

Semifinals ­ Wednesday, February 28th (at highest seeds remaining):
Game 7: Le Moyne (No. 1 seed SW) def. Merrimack (No. 2 seed NE) – 83-55
Game 8: Saint Anselm (No. 1 seed NE) def. Bentley (No. 3 seed NE)   – 87-80

Championship ­ Saturday, March 3rd (at highest seed remaining):
Game 9:  Saint Anselm (No. 1 seed NE) vs. Le Moyne (No. 1 seed SW) – 1:00 PM

Marquee Moments:

  • It was a three-point game, 38-35, with 15 minutes left in the game, but Le Moyne broke things open with a 12-4 stretch that brought the Dolphins’ lead to double figures
  • Le Moyne went on to outscore Merrimack, 50-25, in the second half. The Dolphins made 20 field goals in the second half, shooting over 60 percent from the field

Rapid Recap

  • The first 10 minutes of the game featured back-and-forth action, with the score tied at 13-all at the 9:52 mark. Six different Warriors accounted for Merrimack’s points, while senior Isaiah Eisendorf netted 11 points for the Dolphins
  • The opening half included seven ties and five lead changes. Junior Troy McLaughlin converted a three-point play at the 3:33 mark that gave Merrimack a 24-23 lead, but Le Moyne answered with a 5-0 burst to reclaim the advantage. The Warriors faced a three-point deficit at halftime, 33-30. Redshirt-senior Tawayne Anderson Jr.  led the Navy and Gold with eight first-half points
  • The Warriors only scored two points over the first five minutes of the second half, but never trailed by more than seven. Sophomore Jaleel Lordstopped the drought with a corner three-point to bring Merrimack within three, 38-35
  • The Dolphins responded with a 12-4 run that ended with a Merrimack timeout at the 11:22 mark. The hosts maintained their double-digit advantage over the next four minutes, increasing it to 61-46 with 7:08 to play
  • The final seven minutes of the night belonged to the hosts, who broke the 80-point plateau in the final two minutes to dispatch the Navy and

Top Performers

  • Junior Ryan Boulter (12) and Anderson Jr. (10) were the two Warriors who finished in double figures. Boulter hit a pair of treys and Anderson Jr. shot 5-of-10 from the field
  • Hayes finished the night with six points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals
  • Eisendorf led four Dolphins in double figures with 29 points on 13-of-17 shooting. Senior Russell Sangster finished with 20 points, shooting 9-of-13 from the field

Notes and Notables

  • Early in the second half, Hayes recorded his third steal of the game to pick up his 115th of the season, setting a new NE10 single-season record. He broke the previous mark owned by Assumption’s Donnie Walls (1991-91)
  • Boulter (975) and Hayes (973) both are within 30 points of reaching 1,000 in their respective careers
  • The Warriors deepest run in the NE10 Championship ended in the semifinals, the furthest the program has been in the tournament in eight years

Up Next
The Warriors will await their fate to earn an at-large selection in the NCAA Tournament, with the eight-team East Regional unveiled during the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. Merrimack was ranked seventh in the final regional poll unveiled on Wednesday afternoon.

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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