|Matchup||Merrimack (17-9, 11-2 NEC) vs. Wagner (11-13, 5-7 NEC)|
|Date/Time||Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 // 1 p.m.|
|Venue||North Andover, Mass. // Hammel Court (Tickets)|
|Multimedia||Watch // Live Stats|
|Social||Twitter // Instagram|
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College men’s basketball team hosts its first-ever game on ESPN+ on Saturday afternoon when the Warriors welcome Wagner College to Hammel Court. The first-ever meeting between the Seahawks and Warriors occurs at 4 p.m., with Merrimack entering the day holding a share of first place in the Northeast Conference at 11-2 with five regular season games remaining.
GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
- A general admission ticket for Thursday’s game costs $7
- All faculty/staff, military, senior and youth tickets cost $5
- Seating at Hammel Court is all general admission
- Tickets can be purchased in person or online here
- GAME PROMOTION: “I Love Merrimack” T-Shirt Giveaway // Alumni Day
- Merrimack will be distributing a limited quantity of special “I Love Merrimack” t-shirts to celebrate Valentine’s Day as well as the NEC’s “I Love Basketball” Weekend
- Alumni Day – The Warriors welcome former players back to campus for their annual Alumni Day.
SCOUTING THE SEAHAWKS
Wagner has struggled this season, winning two of 12 NEC contests to date, topping both Mount St. Mary’s and Long Island University. Currently, however, Wagner is riding a six-game losing streak including a defeat on Thursday night at Fairleigh Dickinson that saw Wagner’s defense allow 106 points in regulation. Opponents are scoring nearly 80 points per game while shooting above 45 percent from the field and from beyond the arc against the Seahawks.
HISTORY AGAINST WAGNER
Merrimack and Wagner have never played in men’s basketball, and will square off for the first time this Saturday at Hammel Court. The Seahawks are one of two NEC teams that Merrimack plays only once this season; Merrimack will not make its inaugural trip down to Staten Island until next year.
|Category||Merrimack (17-9, 11-2 NEC)||Wagner (5-18, 2-10 NEC)|
|Field-Goal % Defense||42.5%||46.4%|
|3-PT Field Goal %||32.4%||31.9%|
|3-PT Field Goal % Defense||30.5%||38.7%|
|3-PT Field Goals (Made-Attempts)||194-598||168-527|
MOST WINS EVER!
After Thursday’s victory at St. Francis Brooklyn, the men’s basketball team set a new NCAA record for wins by a first-year program reclassifying to Division I. The Warriors bested Cal Baptist’s 16-win tear in 2018-19 to establish the new record. Sixteen of the Warriors’ 17 wins to date are against DI competition; last year, Cal Baptist only had 12 triumphs over DI foes. Merrimack now sets its eyes on becoming the first program in its first year of reclassification to win a regular season conference championship.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Merrimack joins Cal Baptist and North Alabama as programs going through the reclassification process to Division I. As part of the process, the Warriors will not be postseason eligible in the NEC and not be able to compete in the conference tournament; Merrimack will, however, count in the regular season standings and have an opportunity to claim a NEC Regular Season Championship. The Warriors are eligible for select postseason tournament such as the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and the College Insider Tournament (CIT).
JUVARIS NEARING THE STEALS RECORD
Senior point guard Juvaris Hayes is closing in on NCAA history. Hayes needs just 14 more steals this season to set a new NCAA record, previously held by Tennyson Whitted of Ramapo College (DII). Hayes needs to reach 448 career steals to tie the record and 449 to break it; he enters this weekend with 435 thefts including a Division I high 99 steals in 2019-20, averaging nearly four steals per game.
THE NEW ASSIST KING
With six helpers on against Boston University on Sunday, Dec. 29, Juvaris Hayes surpassed Darren Duncan ’10 as the program’s all-time assists leader. Hayes enters Thursday with 913 career helpers. He moved into the NEC lead recently, and now has a conference-leading 159 assists on the season. He recently became the 22nd player in NCAA history with 900 career assists.
PUTTING THE NEC IN THE ZONE
Led by the nation’s leader in steals in Juvaris Hayes (99), the Warriors’ defense has dominated during NEC play. The Warriors led the conference in turnover margin (+5.2) and steals per game (10.2), averaging nearly three more steals than any other team. Merrimack also has the league’s best scoring defense at 60.2 points per game. Nationally, Merrimack ranks fourth in steals per game and sixth in turnover margin
THE RETURN OF THE ROAD WARRIORS
With Merrimack’s current run, the Warriors became the first NEC team since Wagner in 2017-18 to sweep the daunted “Western PA” trip to Robert Morris and Saint Francis. The Warriors have nine true road victories on the year, sitting in a tie for second in the nation in road wins. Merrimack needs one more win on the road to become the first NEC team since 2015-16 with double-digit road victories.
MOST WINS IN MASSACHUSETTS
Merrimack begins the weekend with 17 victories on the season, the most of the eight Division I basketball schools in Massachusetts. The Warriors have two more wins than Boston University, who rank second in the state with 15 wins. The Warriors also have the third most victories in all of New England, trailing only Vermont (19) and Rhode Island (18). Merrimack and Yale share the third spot with 17 wins each.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Merrimack is tied with Illinois State and East Tennessee State with eight different leading scorers on the season. Senior Idris Joyner became Merrimack’s eighth different player to lead the team in scoring at Robert Morris (1/4), and has since done it in seven out of the last 12 games. Lord leads the team by pacing Merrimack in scoring eight times this season.
DRIS IS COOKING IN CONFERENCE
Joyner has been Merrimack’s top scorer in conference play, averaging nearly 14 points per game. His in-league scoring average has increased his overall scoring average to over 10 points per game, aided by a career-best 28-point performance at Saint Francis. He was named College Sports Madness NEC Player of the Week for his efforts two weeks ago.
The Warriors begin a three-game-in-six-day stretch on Tuesday night when the Warriors visit Bryant University. Tip-off from the Chase Athletic Center in Smithfield, R.I. is set for 7 p.m.