NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack College men’s basketball team hit eight 3-pointers for its first eight made shots of Thursday afternoon’s game against Saint Francis University, sinking a season-high 12 long balls overall in a 68-62 Northeast Conference victory for the Warriors at Hammel Court. Sophomore Ziggy Reid led the charge, scoring a game-high 16 points on a career-best four 3-point field goals in the win.
Merrimack led the final 36 minutes of Thursday’s game, growing its lead to as many as 13 points in the second half. With the hosts up 11 with 2:06 remaining, the Red Flash used a 5-0 burst to climb within six, 63-57, with 90 seconds remaining. The Warriors responded swiftly, scoring a quick 4-0 run of their own to increase the advantage back to double figures, which put the game away. Merrimack’s record improved to 5-4 (5-4 NEC) while Saint Francis fell to 5-11 (4-8 NEC).
The Warriors saw four different players hit at least two 3-point field goals, including senior Devin Jensen who made three of his own to go along with a team-high eight rebounds. Merrimack as a team hit a season-high 12 triples, shooting nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc (12-26).
Score: Merrimack 68, Saint Francis 62
Records: Merrimack (5-4, 5-4 NEC) | Saint Francis (5-11, 4-8 NEC)
Location: North Andover, Mass. | Hammel Court
- Merrimack got off to a torrid start from beyond the arc. The Warriors hit eight 3-pointers – including three straight at one point from Reid – to build a 24-15 advantage by the midway point of the opening stanza.
- The Warriors led the remainder of the first half, growing their lead to as many as 12 points, 29-17, with under seven minutes to play. Saint Francis climbed within five, 34-29, with 3:04 to play, but the Warriors ended the half with six unanswered points to build their lead back to 11. Jensen and sophomores Jordan Minor and Jordan McKoy each hit layups to account for the 6-0 burst
- Minor scored four points to start the second half for Merrimack, bringing the Warriors’ lead to 13 points for the first time. The hosts did not trail by fewer than seven points over the first eight minutes of the second half. Leading 47-39, Merrimack scored six of the next seven points capped by a fastbreak layup for junior Mikey Watkins to balloon the edge back to 13, 53-40, with 9:10 remaining
- Freshman Malik Edmead hit a jumper to keep the lead at 13 points (57-44) with 5:58 on the clock. Saint Francis began to chip away, however, working its deficit down to seven, 59-52, by the 4:03 mark. Merrimack bounced back as Reid hit his fourth triple of the day to inch Merrimack’s lead back to double figures at the 2:08 mark
- The Red Flash had one final push, taking advantage of some Merrimack turnovers to make it a six-point game (63-57), the closest the game had been since the first half. Free throws from Jensen and another lay-in for Watkins ended the comeback there, however, securing the win for Merrimack
Notes and Numbers
- Merrimack’s 12 3-point field goals and 46.2 percentage from long range were both season highs.
- Thursday was the fourth time as a DI program that the Warriors have hit at least 12 triples in a game
- Reid’s 16 points were one shy of tying his career high, set in the season opener. The four 3-point field goals were a new single-game high for the second-year forward
- Watkins filled up the stat sheet again, scoring 11 points with six assists and six rebounds. He’s scored in double figures a team-high seven times, has had at least five assists in five games and at least five rebounds in four more
- Junior Justin Connolly made his season debut, scoring two points with one rebound and one block in 11 minutes. It marked Connolly’s first game since March of 2019
The Warriors host the Red Flash for another 4 p.m. tip-off tomorrow at Hammel Court.