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Furious Finish Comes Up just Short for Men’s Basketball at Bryant

Links: Box Score

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Merrimack College men’s basketball team held Bryant University without a field goal over the final 3:30 of Saturday afternoon’s Northeast Conference duel, nearly overcoming a 13-point halftime deficit in the process, but the host Bulldogs held on for a 60-58 win at the Chase Athletic Center. The contest pitted the first-place Warriors against the third-place Bulldogs in the NEC standings; Merrimack dropped to 8-5 with the result while Bryant improved to 7-4.

Down seven, 60-53, with 15 seconds left, Merrimack mounted one last comeback attempt. After a missed Bryant free throw, junior Mikey Watkins raced the other way to hit a layup. On the ensuing inbounds, the Warriors were able to force a jump ball that gave the visitors possession back, and senior Devin Jensen promptly hit a triple that made it a 60-58 game with 5.5 seconds on the clock. Merrimack called timeout and nearly forced a turnover on the game’s last inbounds to get the ball back, but Bryant held on for the win.

Four Warriors scored in double figures led by 17 points for sophomore Ziggy Reid. Classmate Jordan Minor enjoyed a dominant performance in the post with nine points to go along with a career-high tying 13 rebounds and a season-high tying three blocks. Michael Green III led the Bulldogs with 16 points while Hall Elisias added 14 of his own on 6-of-8 shooting.

The Essentials
Score: Bryant 60, Merrimack 58
Records: Merrimack (8-5, 8-5 NEC) | Bryant (11-5, 7-4 NEC)
Location: Smithfield, R.I. | Chase Athletic Center

Rapid Recap

  • Merrimack started the first six minutes on a 10-5 run to build an early lead. Reid scored the final eight points of that stretch, including hitting consecutive 3-pointers. The hosts answered with a 14-5 spurt that ended with 8:25 on the clock, using that run to take a 19-15 lead with under 10 minutes left in the opening stanza
  • Jensen hit a triple to bring Merrimack within one, but Bryant responded by ending the half on a 14-2 run, turning a 19-18 game into a 33-20 disparity through 20 minutes of action.
  • Bryant’s lead grew to as many as 17 at the start of the second half, 37-20, but Merrimack responded with a 12-2 run to trim its deficit down to seven, 39-32, with under 15 minutes remaining. Reid scored the final five points of the run for the Warriors
  • The host’s lead hovered between seven and 11 points over the next four minutes. After another bucket for Reid brought the Warriors within nine, the Bulldogs’ Nathaniel Stokes hit his third triple of the game to put Bryant back in front by double digits, 54-42, with eight minutes left
  • The Warriors were able to get within six points twice, once after a 3-pointer from sophomore Mykel Derring and again after a bucket from Minor. The field goal from the latter made it a 56-50 game with 2:23 left. Bryant led by eight, 60-52, with 40 second remaining before the furious finish that saw Merrimack score five points in a five-second span played out. The last inbounds saw Minor nearly force a turnover at the Warriors’ free throw line, but Bryant controlled the loose ball to end the game

Notes and Numbers

  • Merrimack attempted a season-high 30 3-point field goals, but only hit seven (23.3 percent). Bryant made six from long range on 17 attempts
  • The Bulldogs excelled primarily from inside the arc, making 18 of its 37 attempts from two (48.6 percent)
  • Reid led Merrimack in scoring for the third time this season and for the second straight game. He tied his career high with 17 points
  • Minor grabbed double-digit rebounds for the first time in five games, and for the sixth time overall in 2021. He needed one more point for his sixth double-double of the season
  • Watkins also filled up the stat sheet, adding 11 points, six assists and four steals. He now leads the team after scoring in double figures for the 10th time this year

Up Next
Merrimack and Bryant meet again tomorrow at 4 p.m., with the series shifting north to Hammel Court.
 

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