LOWELL, Mass. – The Merrimack College men’s basketball program picked up the third win of its Division I era on Sunday afternoon, topping Jacksonville University, 55-44, in the Warriors’ third and final game at the River Hawk Invitational this weekend. Merrimack wrapped up tournament play with two wins in three tries, topping UMass Lowell yesterday before Sunday’s triumph against the Dolphins from the Costello Athletic Center.
Merrimack’s defensive effort headlined Sunday’s action, forcing Jacksonville into 17 turnovers, resulting in 21 points on the scoreboard. The team also limited the Dolphins to 36.2 percent shooting including just a 3-of-17 output from beyond the arc.
Offensively, the team hit a season-best 10 3-pointers. Freshman Jordan Minor scored a career-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting off the bench while senior Jaleel Lord added 13 points with three 3-pointers made.
Score: Merrimack 54, Jacksonville 44
Records: Merrimack (3-2) | Jacksonville (3-3)
Location: Costello Athletic Center | Lowell, Mass.
- Merrimack hit three 3-pointers over the day’s first four minutes as senior Idris Joyner, sophomore Mikey Watkins and freshman Jordan McKoy connected on one each. Minor then made consecutive buckets to bring the Warriors tied with the Dolphins, 13-13, at the 11:25 mark
- Merrimack’s defense took over during the final 9:13, holding the Dolphins to 1-for-7 shooting with six turnovers over the remainder of the first half, ending the opening stanza on a 17-3 run. The Warriors scored 12 unanswered points to start that stretch on four straight 3-pointers; Minor hit two while Lord and freshman Mykel Derring added one each. Lord scored Merrimack’s final four points of the half, putting Merrimack up 32-18 at intermission
- After Watkins started the half with a pull-up in the lane, Jacksonville responded with a 10-2 run to pull within single digits, 36-28, with 14:11 remaining. Back-to-back jumpers from Derring and Minor, however, helped Merrimack go up by double figures, 41-30, with under 12 minutes left
- The team’s combined for 16 points over the next seven minutes, leaving Merrimack with a 48-39 lead with 3:23 to play in the game
- The Dolphins closed within six, 48-42, as Merrimack called a timeout with 2:11 remaining. Out of the stoppage, Lord hit a pivotal 3-pointer that prevented any Jacksonville comeback. In the final minute, senior Juvaris Hayes notched two of Merrimack’s 10 steals on the day to ice the game
Notes and Numbers
- Sunday marked both the 100th game on the sidelines for head coach Joe Gallo and the 100th game played in Hayes’ career. Gallo’s record stands at 64-36 (.640) after the win over the Dolphins
- Merrimack’s quartet of freshmen continued to play well off the bench: Derring, McKoy, Minor and Ziggy Reid combined for 27 points off the bench for the second straight game
- Derring scored a season-best 10 points and shot 5-of-10 over the final two games of the tournament
- Lord scored in double figures for the second time this season, and his 25th over the last three years
- Merrimack registered at least 10 steals for the third straight game of the tournament
- Sunday marked the first-ever meeting between Jacksonville and Merrimack
Merrimack will have one day off before facing Providence College on Tuesday night. Tip-off at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center is set for 7 p.m. and will air on FSN.