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Merrimack falls to Vermont on opening night
BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Despite a 67-55 opening-night loss to Vermont, a new-look Merrimack team showed promise.
The Warriors trailed by 16 points at halftime and, at one point, had trailed by as many as 19 points. But, thanks to a hot stretch from guard Jordan Derkack, the Warriors cut the deficit to as little as six points midway through the second half before the Catamounts pulled away.
Vermont, the defending America East champions, was picked No. 1 in the league's preseason poll.
Derkack finished with 16 points to lead the Warriors. He started and played 32 minutes, which was a team-high. Derkack shot 6 for 16 from the field and led the team with eight rebounds.
With 13 minutes left in the game, Derkack scored six straight points, including two from a technical foul on UVM coach John Becker, to get the Warriors within six.
Freshman Adam Clark started and scored 10 points in his debut. Clark is the first Merrimack player to score double figures in his freshman debut since Malik Edmead in 2020 (17 points against Sacred Heart).
Transfers Samba Diallo (5 points), Jacob O'Connell (6 points), and Armandas Plintauskas (2 rebounds) also made their debuts.
Merrimack will open its home schedule on Thursday against Worcester State. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at Hammel Court.
Vermont 67, Merrimack 55 Merrimack (0-1): 20-35--55 Vermont (1-0): 36-31--67 Merrimack (55): Derkack 6-3-16; Clark 4-2-10; Diallo 2-1-5; Etumnu 2-0-4; Savage 1-0-3; Stinson 3-1-8; O'Connell 3-0-6; McKoy 1-0-3; Plintauskas 0-0-0. Total 22-7--55 Vermont (67): Bogues 7-4-19; Veretto 5-2-14; Deloney 4-1-11; Long 4-0-10; Ayo-Faleye 1-1-3; Hurley 2-2-6; Alamutu 2-0-4; Mills 0-0-0, Joba 0-0-0, Roquemore 0-0-0. Totals 25-10-67