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Men’s Basketball Tripped Up Late in Back-and-Forth Affair with Wagner

Links: Box Score

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – It was a tale of two halves on Tuesday night at the Spiro Sports Center where the Merrimack College men’s basketball team visited Wagner College in the Warriors’ penultimate game of the season. With the Warriors leading, 67-66, at the 3:21 mark of the second half, the hosts ended the game on an 8-0 run to prevail. Merrimack’s Northeast Conference (NEC) record dropped to 9-8 with the result while Wagner improved to 12-5.

The first 20 minutes saw both programs excel offensively, with Wagner owning a 46-43 lead. Merrimack shot 69.2 percent for the field in the opening stanza, making all but eight of its shot attempts (18-26). The second half was played at a more methodical pace, particularly over the final 12 minutes of the night that featured just 25 combined points. The sixth and final lead change of the second half occurred with 2:06 to play when the Seahawks went ahead for good, 68-67.

Merrimack finished the night shooting 58 percent from the field (28-48) while making 37 percent of its 3-pointers (7-19). Sophomore Mykel Derring led the attack with 14 points on four triples while classmate Jordan Minor (13) and junior Mikey Watkins (12) also scored in double figures.

The Essentials
Score: Wagner 74, Merrimack 67
Records: Merrimack (9-8, 9-8 NEC) | Wagner (12-6, 12-5 NEC)
Location: Staten Island, N.Y. | Spiro Sports Center

Rapid Recap

  • A pair of dunks for Minor staked the Warriors to an early 7-3 lead. Wagner came on strong from there, eventually grabbing an 11-point advantage, 28-17, at the midway point of the first half. The Seahawks used a 14-3 during that time to distance themselves from Merrimack
  • The next six-plus minutes saw both offenses continue to flourish. The visitors chipped away, trimming their deficit to three points (40-37) as the clock ticked under four minutes to play in the half. Junior Justin Connolly gave Merrimack solid minutes off the bench, scoring six points on 3-of-3 shooting. Merrimack came within one point on two occasions in the half’s final minutes, but Wagner remained ahead by three, 46-43, at halftime
  • Wagner started the second half on a 7-0 run to increase its lead to 10. Behind the hot shooting of Derring, Merrimack immediately went on a 13-3 run to tie the game up at 56-all; Derring hit three 3-pointers during the run including the game-tying bucket with 14:50 remaining. Wagner crept ahead, 60-58, with 10:09 left on the clock
  • As the offenses quieted down over the next few minutes, Watkins scored back-to-back buckets to give the Warriors a 65-64 edge with 4:40 remaining. The Seahawks went ahead for good, 68-67, with 2:06 to play. The Warriors had the ball trailing by three, 70-67, with less than a minute left, but were unable to tie the contest

Notes and Numbers

  • Tuesday was Merrimack’s first-ever game at Wagner; Staten Island was the lone NEC location that the Warriors did not visit last season
  • Merrimack shot a season-best 58.3 percent from the field
  • Wagner owned advantages in fast break points (13-2) and points off turnovers (21-7)
  • Derring scored in double figures for the fourth straight game – the longest such streak of his career – and hit at least four 3-pointers in a game for the third time this season
  • Senior Devin Jensen tied his season high with eight rebounds
  • Freshman Malik Edmead enjoyed a productive 13 minutes as a reserve, scoring nine points on 4-of-6 shooting

Up Next
The Warriors face Wagner again tomorrow for the team’s season finale. Tip-off back at the Spiro Sports Center is set for 4 p.m.

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