|Matchup||Merrimack (9-8, 3-1 NEC) vs. Bryant (9-7, 1-2 NEC)|
|Date/Time||Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 // 7 p.m.|
|Venue||Hammel Court // North Andover, Mass. (Tickets)|
|Multimedia||Watch // Live Stats|
|Social||Twitter // Instagram|
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – With three wins over its last four games and sitting in a tie for second in the Northeast Conference (NEC), the Merrimack College men’s basketball team begins a three-game-in-six-day stretch on Wednesday night when the Warriors host Bryant University at Hammel Court. Tip-off on campus is set for 7 p.m. between the Warriors and the Bulldogs.
GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
- A general admission ticket for Sunday’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
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Bryant has been a streaky team this season, posting two separate four-game winning streaks through the season’s first two months. Bryant started the season with an 8-4 mark – equaling the best 12-game start in its Division I history. The Bulldogs boast the top field-goal percentage defense and 3-point field goal percentage defense in the NEC, while also pacing the league with nearly five blocks per game. Individually, Bryant is led by senior Adam Grant who ranks second in the NEC in scoring at 19.5 points per game. Redshirt-junior Hall Elisias averages a NEC-leading 3.00 blocks per game and sophomore Patrick Harding ranks second league-wide with 9.4 rebounds per game.
HISTORY AGAINST BRYANT
Wednesday’s game revives the rivalry between Merrimack and Bryant that dates back to the Division II Northeast-10 Conference days for the two programs. The Warriors and Bulldogs will play for the first time in nearly 12 years, with Merrimack carrying a 35-19 edge in the all-time series into Hammel Court. The last game between the two featured a 19-point win for Merrimack; current assistant coach Micky Burtnyk scored 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting in that win.
|Category||Merrimack (9-8, 3-1 NEC)||Bryant (9-7, 1-2 NEC)|
|Field-Goal % Defense||43.9%||40.2%|
|3-PT Field Goal %||30.3%||33.0%|
|3-PT Field Goal % Defense||32.0%||30.2%|
|3-PT Field Goals (Made-Attempts)||125-413||155-469|
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 also will not appear in the national statistics until the reclassification process completes ahead of the 2023-24 season. In men’s basketball, the Warriors are eligible for select postseason tournament such as the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and the College Insider Tournament (CIT).
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 Wednesday with 850 career helpers, maintaining his career average of 7.6 assists per game. He ranks second in the NEC in assists per game (5.65), trailing only Sacred Heart’s Cameron Parker (8.13), who is third nationally in helpers.
PICKING POCKETS & MAKING CHAOS
Hayes continued to stymie opposing backcourts with a nine-steal performance at CCSU, which tied his career high for thefts. In NEC, Merrimack’s point guard is averaging a league-best 6.00 thefts per game. The nine steals put him in a tie for fourth on the NEC’s single-game list, and gave him the second most steals in a game nationally this season. He leads the country with 64 steals this season. As a team, the Warriors’ havoc-creating defense has a league-best +5.76 turnover margin to rank fifth in Division I. Hayes and fellow guard Mikey Watkins are key components of that: the duo have 101 combined thefts, the most of any duo in the country.
LOU HENSON AWARD MID-SEASON WATCHLIST
Another prestigious recognition bestowed to Hayes was a spot on the Lou Henson Award mid-season Watch List, which was announced last Thursday. The point guard was one of 50 players named to the list, which is given to the nation’s top mid-major player at year’s end. Hayes was one of three players from the NEC named on the watch list, as well.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Senior Idris Joyner has led Merrimack in scoring in each of the last two games, becoming the eighth different Warrior to lead Merrimack in scoring this season. Joyner, Hayes, junior Devin Jensen and sophomore Mikey Watkins have led the team in scoring two times each. Senior Jaleel Lord leads the way with five games as the team’s top scorer.
Merrimack plays two games in three days over the long weekend, beginning on Saturday when the Warriors visit Robert Morris for the first time in school history. Tip-off against the Colonials is set for 4 p.m. in Moon Township, Pa.