|Matchup||Merrimack (16-9, 10-2 NEC) at St. Francis (11-13, 5-7 NEC)|
|Date/Time||Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 // 7 p.m.|
|Venue||Brooklyn, N.Y. // Pope Physical Education Center|
|Multimedia||Watch // Live Stats|
|Social||Twitter // Instagram|
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Wrapping up its three-game road swing, the Merrimack College men’s basketball returns to Brooklyn on Thursday night to face the St. Francis Terriers. Tip-off from the Pope Physical Education Center is set for 7 p.m. in Brooklyn, N.Y.
SCOUTING THE TERRIERS
St. Francis snapped a three-game losing skid that started with the first matchup against Merrimack when the Terriers topped Mount St. Mary’s, 70-67, on Saturday at home. Prior to facing the Mountaineers, St. Francis dropped a home game to Sacred Heart and a visit to Bryant. The Terriers are one of two NEC teams (FDU) with four different players among the top 25 in the league in scoring. Chauncey Hawkins leads the team with nearly 14 points per game. He’s done most of his damage at the line, hitting 91 free throws.
HISTORY AGAINST SFBK
Merrimack will visit St. Francis Brooklyn for the first time in school history on Thursday after topping the Terriers in the first-ever game between the two programs earlier this year at Hammel Court. Merrimack won the game, 61-50, behind a double-double for Hayes who scored 19 points and added 12 assists.
|Category||Merrimack (16-9, 10-2 NEC)||SFBK (11-13, 5-7 NEC)|
|Field-Goal % Defense||42.7%||43.8%|
|3-PT Field Goal %||32.3%||30.4%|
|3-PT Field Goal % Defense||31.6%||35.9%|
|3-PT Field Goals (Made-Attempts)||187-579||158-519|
MOST WINS EVER?
Merrimack is nearing an unprecedented mark as it moves through its first-ever Division I season. The Warriors have officially tied Cal Baptist’s 16-win campaign as the most ever for a first-year team reclassifying to Division I. Merrimack has already one-upped Cal Baptist in one area as the Warriors have 15 wins against DI opponents, three more than Cal Baptist did in 2018-19. The Lancers won four games against non-DI foes and 12 games against DI teams.
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 18 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 week with 431 thefts including a Division I high 95 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 905 career helpers. He moved into the NEC lead after Thursday’s 10-assist game with 145 total helpers. With one more assist he will become 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 (95), the Warriors’ defense has dominated during NEC play. The Warriors led the conference in turnover margin (+5.5) 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 60.6 points per game. Nationally, Merrimack ranks fourth in turnover margin and in steals per game.
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 eight true road victories on the year, sitting in a tie for third in the nation in road wins. Merrimack shares the NEC lead with Sacred Heart in road wins this season (8)
MOST WINS IN MASSACHUSETTS
Merrimack begins the week with 16 victories on the season, the most of the eight Division I basketball schools in Massachusetts. The Warriors have one more win that Boston University, who rank second in the state with 15 wins. The Warriors also have the fourth most victories in all of New England, trailing only Vermont (19), Rhode Island (18) and Yale.
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 11 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 15 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.
Merrimack hosts Wagner College on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. on campus, in a contest that will air on ESPN+. The contest features a multitude of promotions including the program’s “I Love Merrimack” t-shirt giveaway as well as the program’s Alumni Day. For tickets, visit www.merrimackathletics.com/tickets