Men's Basketball

Lord’s Game-Winning Triple Clinches 2-OT Win

Links: Box Score  
Video: Highlights // Postgame Press Conference

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS. –  The Merrimack College men’s basketball team needed a last-second field goal to force overtime, another last-second bucket to extend the game to a second extra session before senior Jaleel Lord drilled a left-wing 3-pointer with five seconds to play in double overtime, giving the Warriors a 74-71 win over visiting Fairleigh Dickinson University on Thursday evening at Hammel Court. The victory extended Merrimack’s season-long winning streak to six games, and improved their first-place record in the Northeast Conference to 13-8 (7-1 NEC). The loss dropped FDU to 4-14 on the year and 2-5 in league play.

Merrimack overcame two-point deficits in the final minute of regulation, and another in the final minute of the first overtime to force the first two-overtime tilt at Hammel Court since 2016. The Warriors then broke the 15th and final tie of the night, running a play that saw Lord hit the game-winning shot off a feed from classmate Idris Joyner that broke the 71-71 deadlock. Lord finished with 21 points on six 3-pointers made while Joyner led all scorers with 21 points and added nine rebounds

Leading by seven at halftime (29-22), Merrimack saw that advantage erased via a 7-0 run to start the second half by the Knights. The hosts recovered to lead by four, 54-50, with 4:26 left before the Knights rallied to capture a two-point lead, 57-55, that Lord erased with a baseline layup that forced overtime. In the first extra session, Merrimack never led but also prevented FDU for taking a lead no larger than two points. There were four separate ties in the first overtime alone. The second overtime played out similarly, until Lord’s trey ended the night’s 15th tie; neither team led by more than two points in either overtime until five seconds to go in the game.

The Warriors now have a 1.5-game lead in the NEC standings entering their off weekend. Merrimack continues on its three-game homestand next Thursday night (7 p.m.) against St. Francis Brooklyn.

The Essentials
Score: Merrimack 74, Fairleigh Dickinson 71
Records: Merrimack (12-8, 6-1 NEC) | Fairleigh Dickinson (4-14, 2-5 NEC)
Location: Hammel Court | North Andover, Mass.  

The Visuals
Lord’s game-tying basket in regulation




Lord’s game-winning basket in double overtime




Rapid Recap

  • Merrimack started strong, seeing three different players hit 3-pointers as part of a 14-7 run out of the gates. A low-scoring first half ensued, as FDU clawed within one, 18-17, over the next eight minutes that left less than five minutes to play in the opening stanza. From there, Merrimack scored seven straight points to build a 25-17 advantage, and added one more point to their lead, taking a 29-22 edge to the locker room
  • The Knights scored points on their first three possessions of the second half to tie the game. Junior Devin Jensen and freshman Ziggy Reid answered with consecutive triples, but the visitors embarked on a 9-2 run to take their first lead of the half, 38-37, at the 12:53 mark
  • Merrimack never let its deficit dip below five, and moved back in front after Joyner converted an and-one opportunity with under eight minutes to play, making it a 46-45 game. The Warriors’ lead grew to four (54-50) with 4:26 remaining, only see the Knights score five unanswered to inch in front, 57-55, with 91 seconds left. Lord’s baseline drive gave Merrimack life, however, leaving just 1.7 seconds on the clock and forced a half-court heave from FDU that went awry
  • Whether at the free throw line or with a made shot, Merrimack immediately responded to every two-point lead that the visitors took in the first overtime. The Knights only had one chance to build a two-possession advantage, but sophomore Mikey Watkins notched a crucial steal to get Merrimack the ball back. The thievery setup senior Juvaris Hayes, who finished a left-handed drive that created the second overtime
  • Merrimack took four separate two-point leads in the final five minutes, but FDU took on the comeback role, tying the game on each occasion. Joyner’s feed to Lord with five seconds left proved to be the distance though, as FDU’s game-tying attempt went long to end the night

Notes and Numbers

  • Thursday was Merrimack’s first meeting with Fairleigh Dickinson; the Warriors and Knights did meet in an exhibition ahead of the 2016-17 season, the first year for head coach Joe Gallo
  • The matchup pitted Gallo ’04 against FDU head coach Greg Herenda ’83 in a battle of Merrimack alumni and former Warrior point guards
  • The six-game winning streak ties the longest in Gallo’s four-year tenure. The streak is the also the 13th longest active run in all of college basketball
  • Joyner finished with his team-leading second 20-point game of the year, while Lord became the third different Warrior to score at least 20 in a game this year. The latter set a season best with six 3-pointers made while the former established a new season best with nine caroms
  • Hayes finished with a stat line of eight points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals. The point guard now has 416 thefts in career, moving into second all-time in NCAA history at all levels
  • Merrimack’s defense of the three-point line continues to shine: the Warriors held their third straight opponent to three or fewer makes from beyond the arc. The Warriors have held their opponents to three 3-pointers or fewer in 13 of 21 games this season

Up Next
The Warriors will enjoy an off weekend before returning to action one week from tonight, when Merrimack welcomes St. Francis Brooklyn to campus for a 7 p.m. tilt at Hammel Court.

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