MANCHESTER, N.H. – Entering the day tied for first place in the Northeast-10 Conference’s Northeast Division, the Merrimack College men’s basketball team and the Saint Anselm Hawks met at Saint Anselm’s Stoutenburgh Gym in one of the marquee NE10 tilts of the season on Saturday afternoon. The Warriors held an early second-half lead, but the Hawks overcame the deficit, prevailing by a 79-70 final.
With the Hawks holding a two-point lead at the midway point of the second, the Warriors endured a three-plus minute long scoring drought that allowed the hosts to extend their lead to eight points, 61-53. Merrimack pulled within three points at one point, but the Hawks kept the Warriors at bay over the remainder of the tilt to take a one-game lead in the Northeast with five games left in the regular season.
- Sophomore Juvaris Hayes got off to a strong start, scoring Merrimack’s first five points to give the Warriors a 5-2 lead. Saint Anselm responded with a 14-6 stretch to jump ahead, 16-11, only to see junior Ryan Boulter and senior Kyle Howes convert a three-pointer and a traditional three-point play to cut the Warriors’ deficit to 18-17 at the 9:33 mark.
- The Hawks answered with another run after that, outscoring Merrimack over the next four minutes, 10-2, to open a 28-19 advantage. Over the final 90 seconds, the Warriors worked their deficit to four on three separate occasions, but the Hawks swished a three-pointer as the first-half horn sounded to take a 42-35 lead to the locker room
- The Warriors started the second half on an 11-2 run, quickly taking a 46-44 lead at the 16:20 mark. The scoring slowed from there, with the Warriors using a timeout, holding a 48-47 lead, with 13:52 remaining. The back-and-forth flow continued, with the next stoppage coming with 8:10 on the clock and Saint Anselm leading, 55-53
- The Hawks scored six unanswered points after that, but freshman Khalief Crawford and Hayes answered with a 5-0 burst of their own. The Hawks responded right back with another 6-0 burst that brought the contest to a 67-58 margin with under four minutes left
- Hayes kept Merrimack in it, hitting a layup before finding Boulter on a trail three-pointer that brought the game down to a four-point margin, 67-63, with 2:04 remaining. Saint Anselm’s advantage never dipped below six after a pair of free throws on its next possession, however, preventing a Merrimack comeback
Notes and Notables
- Merrimack (44.3 percent) shot better than Saint Anselm (41.7 percent), but the Hawks lived at the free-throw line, sinking 21 attempts compared to just eight for the Navy and Gold
- Hayes flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 37 minutes
- Saint Anselm’s Tim Guers finished with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds, while adding seven assists to match Hayes in a matchup of two of the NE10’s top individual threats
- Boulter notched his best game since his return, totaling 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting
The Warriors return home to host Franklin Pierce at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening from Hammel Court.