NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – In a back-and-forth affair that featured 22 lead changes and 11 ties, the Merrimack College men’s basketball program came out on the losing end of 86-83 Northeast-10 Conference contest on Wednesday evening to Franklin Pierce University from Hammel Court.
Junior guard Juvaris Hayes converted consecutive three-point plays in the final two minutes to turn a 79-75 deficit into a 81-79 lead with 53 seconds remaining, but a Merrimack turnover led to the Ravens capitalizing on an old-fashioned three-point play of their own to complete the night’s 22nd and final lead change. The visitors iced the game with four free throws in the final five seconds to complete the triumph.
Score: Franklin Pierce 86, Merrimack 83
Records: Merrimack (5-5, 3-3 NE10) | Franklin Pierce (4-4, 2-2 NE10)
Location: Hammel Court | North Andover, Mass.
- Merrimack led by as many as six in the early going, 10-4, after Hayes sank back-to-back layups. Franklin Pierce clawed back to take a brief lead, 18-16, at the 10:38 mark before Hayes knotted the score at the midway point of the opening stanza
- The visitors led by as many as five in the opening half, including at 32-27 with less than five minutes to play in the stanza. A quick 5-0 burst for the hosts tied the game, which turned into a 12-3 half-closing run that gave the Warriors a four-point lead (39-35) at intermission. Sophomores Devin Jensen and Khalief Crawford hit buckets in the final minute that put Merrimack ahead
- The Ravens outscored the Warriors, 17-7, over the first 5:20 of the opening half to pull ahead, 52-46. With the score at 55-50 in favor of the hosts, the Warriors scored six straight capped by a bucket from senior Troy McLaughlin to give Merrimack a one-point lead with 10:49 remaining
- Down four, junior Idris Joyner sank consecutive layups to knot the game at 62-all, only to see the Ravens record the night’s next four points. The game was then tied at 66-all and again at 69-all, with the last deadlock of that stretch occurring with under five minutes to play
- Freshman Mikey Watkins delivered a lefty layup that put the hosts ahead, 75-74, with 2:56 to play, but the Ravens converted another old-fashioned three-point play to snatch the advantage back. After Pierce’ next bucket, Hayes scored six straight to give Merrimack its final lead of the evening. Down on (82-81), Lord missed a 3-pointer that would have put Merrimack ahead, and a flagrant foul was called on Merrimack that gave the Ravens two free throws and possession, which resulted in four makes for the visitors and an 86-81 advantage late
Notes and Numbers
- Franklin Pierce posted an effective shooting night, posting splits of .517/.526/.842. The visitors hit 10 triples compared to just five for Merrimack
- Merrimack held the advantage in the paint, totaling 50 points compared to Franklin Pierce’s 42
- Merrimack forced Franklin Pierce in 21 turnovers, scoring 19 points off the miscues
- Both programs had four players finished in double figures. Hayes led all players with 26 points, while junior Jaleel Lord (14), Crawford (12) and Joyner (10) joined him with at least 10. Lord nearly captured a double-double with nine rebounds
- Hayes added a game-high four steals, his fourth straight game with at least four. He leads the NE10 with 36 on the season
Merrimack plays Saint Michael’s on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. at Hammel Court.