NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – After debuting at the Division I level with averages of 14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game, senior point guard Juvaris Hayes of the Merrimack College men’s basketball program was named both the College Madness National Mid-Major Player and the Northeast Conference’s (NEC) Player of the Week.
Hayes was fabulous in the Warriors’ upset of Northwestern University on Friday night, defeating the Wildcats by a 71-61 margin. The point guard finished the night with 19 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals to lead Merrimack to its monumental win over the Wildcats; the victory was just the second-ever for a NEC program against a Big Ten program, and the first triumph in the Warriors’ Division I history.
The Paterson, N.J. native played 39 minutes on Friday night, shooting 4-of-7 from the field, making his lone 3-point attempt and sinking a team-best 10 free throws. He was 9-of-10 from the line in the game’s final 1:23, paving the way to victory.
Hayes emerged from the weekend leading the NEC in assist-to-turnover ratio (6:1), and ranked among the top-15 in the league in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. In the latter two statistics, he sits in second place in the NEC with 12 helpers and five thefts over the first two games.
After a decorated Division II career that featured multiple All-American selections, Hayes is the first player in school history to be named NEC Player of the Week as well as National Mid-Major Player of the Week.
The Warriors begin their four-game in five-day stretch this weekend when Merrimack competes in the River Hawk Invite on Friday, playing Dartmouth College at 4:30 p.m. on Friday night at the Costello Athletic Center in Lowell, Mass.