MANCHESTER, N.H. – Trailing by 12 points at halftime, the Merrimack College men’s basketball team outscored the Southern New Hampshire by 17 points in the second half, as the Warriors picked up an important 78-73 road victory on Saturday afternoon at SNHU Fieldhouse.
Score: Merrimack 78, Southern New Hampshire 73
Records: Merrimack (6-3, 4-3) | SNHU (5-5, 3-5)
Location: SNHU Fieldhouse | Manchester, N.H.
How It Happened
Sophomore guard Gelvis Solano (New York, N.Y.) enjoyed one of his finest outings while wearing the Navy and Gold, draining a career-high 11 field goals while finishing 11-of-13 from the line to account for a game-high 35 points, while senior Kevin Regan (Philadelphia, Pa.) posted his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomores JT Strickland (Laurel, Md.), Troy Hammel (Valencia, Calif.) and Anthony Barry (Uxbridge, Mass.) chipped in with eight points each.
In a game that featured 11 lead changes, Merrimack finished shooting 22-from-51 from the floor, including a second-half clip of 13-for-23 (56.5) that enabled them to erase that early deficit.
Merrimack took an early 9-6 lead over the Penmen after back-to-back made free throws from Strickland, but SHNU answered right back after a converted three point play by Tripodakis to bring the score to 9-9 with 14:56 left to play in the first.
Over the next couple of minutes, both teams traded baskets and the Penmen took its first lead of the game, 19-15, with 11:37 to play. For the last 10 minutes of the half, Southern New Hampshire kept the Warriors to only seven points and taking a 12 point (40-28) lead heading into halftime.
In the opening minute of the second half, Southern New Hampshire took its biggest lead of the game of 15 points to bring the score to 42-28. However, that didn’t stop Merrimack from battling back and going on a 17-5 run, cutting the lead to two (47-45) with 14:21 left to play in regulation.
Solano continued to dominate on offense and helped Merrimack continue its 23-8 run to bring the score to 51-47. SNHU manages to go on a 12-4 run to bring the score to 59-55 but Hammel responded back to bring the lead to two (59-57) with 7:34 left to play.
Merrimack battled back to tie the Penmen at 66-all, after Hammel went 2-for-2 from the free throw line with 3:15 on the clock. After a made jumper from Regan, Merrimack was able to regain the lead by the score of 68-66.
The Penmen managed to threaten the Warriors by bringing the score to within one but Merrimack kept its composure. With 56.4 seconds on the clock, SNHU missed a three pointer and then had to foul Strickland sending him to the free throw line. Strickland made both free throws and the Warriors extend its lead to 70-67.
With 3.8 second to play, SNHU hit a three to bring the score to 76-73. On the inbounds play, the Penmen fouled Strickland again sending him to the free throw line. After the two made free throws, Strickland secured Merrimack’s victory over the Penmen, 78-73.
Rodney Saunders led a trio of double-digit scorers for the Penmen, posting a team-best 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Behind him Elijah Bonsignore added 19 points, while Mike Stys finished with 13 points.
What they said
“We came together just in time and we were able to pull out a good win on the road tonight,” said head coach Bert Hammel. “We handled the pressure and reacted well to their run without giving up to much of a lead in the second half.”
A Closer Look
- Southern New Hampshire finished 25-of-62 (40.3 percent) from the floor and 12-of-31 (38.7 percent) from behind the arc.
- Both teams tallied 26 points in the paint, while the Penmen posted 14 second chance points.
- Merrimack forced 16 Penmen turnovers, as well as posting 22 points off the forced turnovers.
- Merrimack and SNHU finished with 34 total rebounds each, but Merrimack out rebounded the Penmen in the second half, 15-12.
Next up, the Warriors return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 18th, when they travel to Colchester, Vt. to take on Saint Michael’s in a NE-10 Conference showdown. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.