Men’s Basketball Starts December with Brown Wednesday

Matchup Merrimack (5-4) at Brown (4-3)
Date/Time Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 // 7 p.m.
Venue Pizzitola Sports Center // Providence, R.I.
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NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College men’s basketball program will begin the month of December with a quick trip down to Providence, R.I. to face the Brown University Bears for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The Warriors completed the month of November with a 5-4 record that included three true road victories against Northwestern, UMass Lowell and the University of Hartford. Wednesday’s action can be viewed online on ESPN+.

Matchup Comparison:

Category Merrimack (5-3) Akron (4-2)
Scoring Offense 63.3 68.4
Scoring Defense 59.2 72.1
Field-Goal % 40.2%  40.5%
Field-Goal % Defense 42.0% 42.5%
3-PT Field Goal % 30.1% 30.4%
3-PT Field Goal % Defense 28.3% 35.0%
3-PT Field Goal Attempts 249 143
Free-Throw Percentage 71.6% 70.4%
Winning Percentage .556 .571
Rebounding Margin -7.9 4.9
Assists/Game 12.7 11.9
Steals/Game 11.0 6.6
Turnovers/Game 10.8 16.6
Blocks/Game 2.9 4.7
Total Fouls 154 134

The Warriors’ early season success as the newest Division I program has brought plenty of notoriety: Merrimack took down Northwestern to post just the second win ever for a Northeast Conference (NEC) institution against a Big Ten adversary. The Warriors have also picked up road  victories over UMass Lowell and Hartford. As of Monday, Merrimack joined Furman, William & Mary, Vermont, Depaul and Campbell as the nation’s leaders in road wins (3). There are also only two other programs (Florida A&M and Alabama State) that host their first home game againts a Division I opponent than Merrimack; the Warriors play their first home game against a D1 on Dec. 11 against Army.

Brown started the season with a three-game winning streak, topping Bryant University, Canisius College and Quinnipiac University. Since then the Bears have dropped three of four, falling to Sacred Heart, UMass Lowell and the Naval Academy. Brown is led by senior guard Brandon Anderson, who has four 20-point games over six appearances for an average of 23.3 per contest. He barely leaves the floor too, averaging nearly 39 minutes per game. Brown has struggled in the turnover department, ranking 314th out of 353 programs with nearly 17 turnovers per game.

Senior point guard Juvaris Hayes recorded his 800th career assist at Hartford, becoming the third player in Merrimack history to do so. Hayes needs 23 more assists to set a new program record (826), currently owned by Darren Duncan ’10. His 7.7 career assists per game average is up there in program history as well. Peter Dufour leads all former Warriors with a career assists average of 9.0 per contest

Merrimack’s defense is among the best in the NEC in the early parts of the season. The Warriors are currently allowing a league-best 59.2 points per game – over seven points fewer than any other team in the conference. The Warriors’ .420 field-goal percentage defense ranks fourth in the conference while Merrimack’s 3-point field-goal defense (.283) sits atop the league rankings, as well. More league-leading stats include steals and turnover margin, where Merrimack’s 11.00 thefts per game and +7.11 turnover margin are the best in the league. If Merrimack qualified, the Warriors would rank fifth nationally in steals and seventh in turnover margin.

Merrimack ranks third in the NEC in 3-pointers made (75), and are six of four teams in the league averaging over eight makes per contest. Senior Jaleel Lord ranks fourth in the league with 19 treys and Junior Devin Jensen sits in fifth with 18. Jensen ranks ninth in 3-point percentage as well.

Merrimack and Akron will meet for the first time in school history on Wednesday. It marks Merrimack’s second game of the season against an Ivy League foe, as well. The Warriors dropped a contest to Dartmouth earlier this year at the River Hawk Challenge.

Up Next:
The Warriors return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 11, when Merrimack welcomes Army to Hammel Court for the program’s first home game against Division I competition. Tip-off on campus is set for 7 p.m.

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