NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College men’s basketball team endured a scoring drought to start Thursday night’s non-conference finale against Post University at Hammel Court, but rallied to outscore the Eagles, 27-9, over the half’s final 10 minutes to take an 11-point lead into the locker room. The Warriors never trailed over the remainder of the night, topping their visitors by a 69-63 final.
Score: Merrimack 69, Post 63
Records: Merrimack (14-6) | Post (6-13)
Location: Hammel Court | North Andover, Mass.
- The Navy and Gold started the night with seven minutes in 2:44, but then only could muster five point over the next 7:49, allowing the Eagles to take a 19-12 lead
- Freshman Devin Jensen hit a triple in his first attempt of the night to get the Warriors’ offense in gear, triggering the run that saw the Warriors scored 27 of the half’s final 36 points
- Junior Troy McLaughlin hit back-to-back lay-ins, sophomore Jaleel Lord hit a pair of treys and sophomore Juvaris Hayes capped off a five-steal opening stanza by completing a steal-and-score at the buzzer to give Merrimack its 39-28 advantage that it never relinquished
- The Warriors started the game with a 7-2 edge, only to see the Eagles use a 15-2 run spanning five minutes to move ahead, 17-9, with under 13 minutes left in the opening stanza
- Facing a 19-12 deficit at the 10:19 mark, the Warriors allowed just six points over the next five minutes to bring the game to a 25-25 deadlock with under five minutes remaining. Freshman Khalief Crawford knocked in a triple at the 4:01 mark, extending the Warriors’ run to 16-6, and getting the Navy and Gold the lead back
- Crawford’s triple started a 14-3 run over the final four minutes of the half, which featured back-to-back lay-ins for McLaughlin and a buzzer-beating layup by Hayes, which was created off the point guard’s fifth steal of the half
- Crawford hit a triple early in the second half to increase the Warriors’ lead to 15, their largest of the night. Post responded with a 7-0 burst, however, to pull within eight, 46-38, at the 15:22 mark
- The scoring slowed down from there, with the opponents combining to score 18 points over the next eight-plus minutes. With 7:29 remaining, the Warriors held a 54-48 advantage
- Post pulled within as close as five in the waning minutes of regulation, but McLaughlin knocked in a corner triple with 3:06 on the clock that increased Merrimack’s lead back to nine, 61-52. In the final minute Hayes went 6-of-8 at the free-throw line to ice the game
Notes and Notables
- The Warriors closed their non-conference ledger with a 4-3 record, picking up wins over Jefferson, Holy Family, LIU Post and Post
- Hayes notched six of the Warriors’ eight steals, filling up the rest of the stat sheet with a team-leading 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The point guard now has 10 games (of 20) this season with at least five steals
- Merrimack’s primary ball handler now has 79 total thefts on the year, moving with nine of setting a new career
- Four Warriors finished in double figures, with Crawford, senior Kyle Howes and McLaughlin each totaling 10 points.
- The Navy and Gold shot 9-of-20 from three-point range, including a 6-of-10 combined outing off the bench for Jensen, McLaughlin and Lord
- Post Senior Tyler Desrosiers totaled a game-high 21 points to lead all players in scoring
The Navy and Gold host the College of Saint Rose on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Hammel Court, Merrimack’s final regular-season game against the Southwest Division.