BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Outside of an early 3-2 deficit on Wednesday evening, the Merrimack College men’s basketball team never trailed in the Warriors’ 68-63 Northeast Conference (NEC) win at Long Island University from the Steinberg Wellness Center. Merrimack led by 11 at halftime, secured a lead as large as 18 points early in the second half, and held off a late charge by the Sharks to secure the victory.
With the win, Merrimack improved to 4-3 (4-3 NEC) through seven games with LIU dropped to an identical record of 4-3 (4-3 NEC). The Warriors entered the day half-a-game behind the Sharks who sat in second place in the conference standings. Merrimack extended its season-long winning streak to three games with the triumph.
Sophomore Jordan Minor – the reigning NEC Co-Player of the Week – led Merrimack again with a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds. Three other Warriors joined Minor in double figures. On the defensive end, Merrimack held LIU to 37 percent shooting (19-51) and outrebounded the Sharks, 39-30. The Warriors also held Sharks leading scorer and unanimous Preseason All-NEC selection Ty Flowers to a season-low six points.
Score: Merrimack 68, LIU 63
Records: Merrimack (4-3, 4-3 NEC) | LIU (4-3, 4-3 NEC)
Location: Steinberg Wellness Center | Brooklyn, N.Y.
- The teams were closely contested early on, with Merrimack owning a slim 16-13 advantage through the first six minutes. From there, the Warriors’ defense held LIU without a field goal over six minutes to go on a 10-1 run and take a 26-14 lead
- Despite a brief offensive lull of its own, Merrimack maintained the lead the remainder of the opening stanza. LIU crept within seven, 26-19, with four minutes remaining, but the Warriors outscored the Sharks by four in the half’s final segment to increase their lead to 11. Sophomore Ziggy Reid hit a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock on Merrimack’s final possession of the half, leaving the team with a 34-23 lead at intermission
- Merrimack came out scorching in the second, netting seven points in the first 90 seconds to balloon its lead to 41-23. Sophomore Mykel Derring hit two 3-pointers in the half’s first four minutes, including one that staked the Warriors’ advantage to 46-29 at the 16-minute mark.
- Despite multiple LIU attempts to close within single digits, the Warriors pushed back every time. Holding a 12-point lead, junior Mikey Watkins converted an and-one to make it a 51-36 contest with 13:31 remaining. Then after LIU climbed within 11, 54-43, the Warriors made four straight at the free throw line to create a 15-point disparity once more (58-43) with nine minutes left
- The score sat at 60-45 in Merrimack’s favor with 6:26 to play, but LIU embarked on an 11-2 run that would last the next 4:19 to trim its deficit to six, 62-56. The hosts would get as close as three points, doing so on a pair of occasions, but that was as close as LIU would get to completing the comeback
Notes and Numbers
- Wednesday’s win marked the program’s first-ever triumph at LIU. The Warriors lost their two previous trips to Brooklyn, including last year’s overtime defeat. The all-time series is squared at 2-2
- Minor now has four double-doubles on the year including three straight. He also posted his third 20-point game as well, shooting 8-of-13 from the field. His six offensive rebounds were a season high
- The Warriors set a season high in rebounds with 39 and tied their season best with 30 on the defensive glass.
- Merrimack won despite a season-low four steals. It marked on the fourth time since 2017-18 that the Warriors had four or fewer steals in a game; the Warriors are 3-1 in those contests
Reid scored in double figures (14) for the first time since the season opener
- Watkins netted 13 points including 7-of-9 shooting at the charity stripe, his fifth straight game with at least 10 points
- Derring’s hot shooting continued with four treys. Over his last three games, he’s shooting 12-of-26 (.462) from beyond the arc
The Warriors face the Sharks back at the Steinberg Wellness Center tomorrow at 1 p.m.