MBB: Merrimack Continues Positioning For NE10 Playoffs With Win Over Assumption
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College men’s basketball team – the East Region’s fifth-ranked program as announced in Wednesday’s first NCAA regional poll of the year – received a career-high 12 points off the bench from freshman guard Devon Moore (Hanover, Pa.) as the Warriors held off the Assumption College Greyhounds on Wednesday night at Hammel Court, 80-74.
Score: Merrimack 80, Assumption 74
Records: Merrimack (18-8, 12-7 NE10) | Assumption (6-20, 4-15 NE10)
Location: Hammel Court | North Andover, Mass.
The Turning Point:
With the Greyhounds holding a 70-69 lead with under seven minutes to play, Moore hit his third triple of the night to start an 11-4 game-ending run for the Warriors. The Merrimack defense limited the visitors to just two points over the final 5:05 of regulation, with a corner 3-pointer from sophomore Ryan Boulter (Mansfield, Mass.) proving to be the game-winning field goal with 4:48 to play in the game.
NE10 Postseason Outlook:
The top-five teams in the Northeast Division advance to the NE10 Championship, with the fifth seed playing the fourth seed out of the Southwest in the opening round on Friday, Feb. 24. The top-three finishers have a bye until the quarterfinals on Sunday, Feb. 26. The Warriors have two games remaining, this Saturday at Franklin Pierce and at home on Tuesday against Bentley.
1) SNHU (14-5)
2) Merrimack (12-7)
3) Saint Anselm (12-7)
4) Franklin Pierce (10-9)
5) Stonehill (9-10)
6) Bentley (9-10)
7) Saint Michael’s (4-15)
8) Assumption (4-15)
How It Happened (First Half)
- Both team got off to slow starts, combining for just 22 points over the first eight minutes of action. After redshirt-junior Tawayne Anderson Jr. (Garden City, N.Y.) brought Merrimack with two points, 12-10, Branislav Vujadinovic converted a 3-pointer to put the Greyhounds up five at the 11:53 mark
- A quick 4-0 spurt courtesy of Boulter and senior captain Riley Calzonetti (Neptune City, N.J.) put Merrimack ahead, 18-17. Moore got on the board with two free throws and the Warriors held a 20-17 advantage with 8:08 remaining
- In a stretch that saw the adversaries score on four straight possession, graduate forward Anthony Barry (Uxbridge, Mass.) and freshman point guard Juvaris Hayes (Paterson, N.J.) each hit two-pointers to make it a 26-22 game in favor of the hosts with under five minutes to play
- With Assumption up one, 28-27, and 2:20 left, the Navy and Gold embarked on an 11-2 run that featured 3-pointers from Barry and Moore, and the final five points of Boulter’s 14-point half. The Greyhounds drilled a trey as the first-half buzzer sounded, however, to make it a 38-33 game after 20 minutes
How It Happened (Second Half)
- After Assumption started the half with a 3-pointer, the Warriors used a 12-1 stretch over a three-minute to span to build a 50-39 lead, the largest either side had on the night. Sophomore Troy McLaughlin (Old Tappan, N.J.) six points during the stretch, including a NBA-range triple from the left wing
- Moore’s second 3-pointer of the night sank through with 12:38 remaining, giving the Warriors a 59-50 advantage. Assumption quickly raced on a 7-0 spurt to cut the deficit down to two points, 59-57, but a 6-2 stretch for the Warriors brought their lead back to six points with 9:43 to play
- Back-to-back 3-pointers from Damien Rance tied the game at 65-all with 8:29 on the clock, and a triple from Vujadinovic gave the Greyhounds their first lead of the night since the opening stanza, 70-69.
- From there, the Warriors outscored the Greyhounds by seven to close out the final six minutes. Moore’s final make hit bottom with 5:29 remaining. Hayes dished out his game-high 11th assist with 4:48 remaining on Boulter’s game-deciding trey. After Assumption pulled within two, 76-74, with 2:43 remaining, Barry drove to basket for the night’s final field and Hayes made a pair of free throws to bring the night to its 80-74 conclusion
Inside The Numbers
- After scoring 12 combined points over his previous 13 appearances, Moore erupted off the bench en route to collecting his first-ever double-figure scoring output. His three 3-pointers and three makes from the free-throw line marked season highs for the rookie
- Boulter led Merrimack in scoring with 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting, his 12th 20-point game of the season. He fell one rebound shy of the first double-double of his career, hauling in a career-high tying nine boards
- Hayes distributed 11 assists, his 15th game with at least 10 helpers this season. Nine of those 15 games have come over the last 10 contests, with nine assists against Saint Michael’s serving as lone game below double figures
- More on Juvaris: His 246 assists this season are the most in the country, as is his nation-leading 9.5 assist per game average. He moved into eighth all-time in NE10 history in single-season assists, collecting the most helpers by a NE10 performer in over two decades. He sits 24 assists away from setting a new program single-season record for distributions
The Warriors travel to Rindge, N.H. on Saturday afternoon for a 3:30 p.m. meeting with the Ravens, marking the final regular-season road game of the season for the Navy and Gold.