Merrimack grinds out a win over AIC to snap two-game skid
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Merrimack College men’s basketball program led coast-to-coast on Tuesday night, beginning a three-game in six-day stretch with a 68-54 win over American International in Northeast-10 Conference action from Butova Gymnasium.
Score: Merrimack 68, American Int’l 54
Records: Merrimack (13-6, 10-3 NE10) | American Int’l (10-10, 5-7 NE10)
Location: Butova Gymnasium | Springfield, Mass.
- American International closed withim three points, 44-41, with 8:50 left in the second half. From that point forward, however, the Warriors outscored the Yellow Jackets, 24-13, preventing AIC from taking control of the game
- The Warriors went back ahead by double figures with 4:40 remaining, and then broke the game open by scoring 12 unanswered points
- From the 8:50 mark of the second stanza to 1:17 remaining, Merrimack’s defense held the hosts to just five points
- Three-pointers fell for sophomore Devon Moore, senior Kyle Howes and sophomore Jaleel Lord to stake Merrimack to an 11-4 lead less than five minutes into the game. Sophomore Juvaris Hayes found junior Troy McLaughlin one the break four minutes later, bringing Merrimack’s lead to double figures for the first time, 20-10, with 11:22 on the clock
- The Warriors’ lead sat at seven with 6:52 remaining before an 11-0 run gave the Navy and Gold their largest lead of the opening stanza, 33-15, with 2:45 to play. Five different Merrimack players scored during the 11-point burst
- The hosts responded, however, using an 8-0 run to end the half and bring Merrimack’s lead down to 11 at halftime, 33-22
- Merrimack’s lead rested at 13 early in the second half, only to see the Yellow Jackets use a 10-3 run to pull within six, 40-34, at the 13:20 mark. Redshirt-senior Tawayne Anderson Jr. hit a putback two minutes later and the Warriors called timeout ahead by eight, 44-36
- AIC fought to bring the game down to a one-possession margin, but a three-point play for Hayes and a pull-up in the paint for freshman Khalief Crawford allowed the Warriors to build their lead back to six with 7:20 remaining. Another triple for Lord and back-to-back layups for Hayes extended Merrimack’s run to 12-3, giving the Warriors at 56-44 with 5:16 remaining
- The Warriors used a 12-0 stretch beginning at the 4:40 mark to turn a 10-point lead into a 22-point gap with just two minutes to play in the game
Notes and Notables
- Merrimack allowed a season-low 54 points on Tuesday, the third time this season that the Warriors have allowed fewer than 60 points in a game
- Three members of the Navy and Gold finished in double figures: Hayes (13), Crawford (13) and Howes (11)
- Defensively, the Warriors held the Yellow Jackets to 28.6 percent from the field, the lowest an opponent has shot this season against Merrimack
- Anderson Jr. nearly finished with a double-double for the second-straight game, finishing with eight points and eight boards
The Warriors play in their non-conference finale on Thursday night when the Navy and Gold host Post University at 7 p.m. from Hammel Court.