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Minor, Watkins lead Merrimack to comeback win over FDU

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Sophomore Jordan Minor notched his second double-double in as many days and junior Mikey Watkins scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half to carry the Merrimack College men’s basketball program to a 76-71 come-from-behind win over Fairleigh Dickinson University on Friday evening. The Warriors improved to 3-3 (3-3 NEC) while the Knights fell to 2-8 (1-3 NEC).

Links: Box Score | Highlights | Postgame Press Conference

Merrimack faced a 40-32 halftime deficit, but methodically worked their way back into the game. The Warriors closed within one, 44-43, with 14 minutes to play, but did not take the lead until the waning minutes. Sophomore Mykel Derring tied the game, 64-all, with under three minutes left to start an 8-0 run that decided the outcome. Watkins connected on two straight driving layups, and sophomore Ziggy Reid hit a two-pointer of his own to complete the run and give the Warriors a 70-64 edge with 40 seconds to play

Minor finished with a career-high tying 20 points and career-high setting 13 rebounds. Watkins shot 7-of-11 from the field while adding six rebounds, six assists and three steals to post a well-rounded effort. Five Warriors finished in double figures overall. The Knights had three players post at least 10 points, including a team-best 19 for senior Jahlil Jenkins.

Rapid Recap

    • A high-scoring first 20 minutes played out at Hammel Court on Friday. By the midway point of the first half, FDU held a 20-14 lead. It was a two-point game, 14-12, before a quick 6-2 scamper over a two-minute span increased the Knight’s lead to six
    • With its deficit at nine, 29-21, back-to-back buckets from senior Devin Jensen and Minor created a 5-0 burst to bring the Warriors within one possession, 29-26, with 5:10 to play in the first half. The Knights controlled the final five minutes, however, scoring 11 of the final 16 points to build their lead back to eight. FDU led, 40-22, at intermission
    • Merrimack started the second half on an 11-4 stretch to climb within one, 44-43. Minor scored nine of the team’s 11 points of run. FDU recovered, however, extended its lead back to seven, 55-48, with 11 minutes remaining
    • The see-saw swung the other way over the next three minutes, with Merrimack making it a one-possession game once more. Jensen hit a triple to start the stretch, and another Minor bucket saw the Warriors make it a 58-57 contest with 8:22 remaining
    • Over the next five minutes, the margin remained at one possession. Neither team scored over a near four-minute span until Derring hit a long jumper to knot the score at 64 points apiece. Merrimack scored on its next four possessions during the aforementioned 8-0 run to take the lead for good. Down the stretch, Merrimack went 6-of-6 from the line to guarantee the win

Notes and Numbers

    • Merrimack has won all four of its games against FDU since joining the NEC
    • Minor now has double-doubles in two straight games and in three of the last six contests. His two 20-point performances are the highest scoring of any Warrior this season. He added a career-high five assists and three blocks
    • Watkins tied his career-high in assists (6) and rebounds (6), while scoring in double figures for the fifth time in six contests
    • McKoy scored in double figures for the second time in three games, and added a career-best seven rebounds
    • Merrimack dominated the interior, outscoring FDU by 18 in the paint, 40-22
    • All three of Merrimack’s wins this season have come after trailing at halftime
    • Jensen added two steals to give him 15 steals through six games. He had 20 all of last season
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