Merrimack Pushes Past Men's Basketball, 77-75

Lee scored a career-high 16 points for the Skyhawks tonight. (PHOTO BY Mike Broglio/SportsPix)

Barry and Hayes combine for 45 to lead Warriors to third straight win

EASTON, Mass. (November 22, 2016) – Merrimack College, ranked eighth in this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll, used a late surge to claim a 77-75 victory over Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II poll and ranked No. 6 in the D2SIDA regional poll, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Postgrad Anthony Barry (Uxbridge, Massachusetts/Brooks School) and freshman Juvaris Hayes (Paterson, New Jersey/Saint Anthony's) combined for 45 points to lead Merrimack to the win. Barry scored a game-high 23 points on 11-of-19 shooting with a game-best eight rebounds (six offensive) and three steals, while Hayes scored 15 of his 22 point in the second half on 8-of-14 shooting, adding five rebounds, six assists and five steals. Sophomore Ryan Boulter (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield) added 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 3-for-5 from three-point distance, converting all four free-throws with six boards.

Junior KJ Lee (Huntington Station, New York/Long Island Lutheran) led Stonehill with a career-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 2-for-2 from three-point distance, while freshman Will Moreton (Minneapolis, Minnesota/Edina) filled the box score with 12 points, connecting on 4-of-7 three-pointers, a season-high seven rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots and a steal. Freshman Daniel Largey (Oceanport, New Jersey/Peddie School) netted 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, while senior Jim Walsh (Manasquan, New Jersey/Manasquan) and juniors Joel Berroa (Lawrence, Massachusetts/Bridgeton Academy) and Isaiah Bess (LaGrange, Maine/Hampden Academy) all chipped in with nine points.

Merrimack connected on 45.5-percent (30-for-66) of its shots from the field, converting 12-of-14 (85.7%) free-throws, while posting a 34-31 rebounding edge. The Warriors took advantage of Stonehill's 23 turnovers to outscore the hosts 28-13 in points off, to go with a 16-10 edge in second chance points. Stonehill finished shooting 51.8% (29-56) from the floor, including 12-for-25 (48%) from three-point distance, going to the line just seven times and converting five, as it was hampered by the 23 turnovers, compared to 13 for the Warriors.

Moreton racked up 12 points, seven boards, five assists and three blocks. (PHOTO BY Mike Broglio/SportsPix)

Stonehill held a four point lead at the half (40-36) after shooting 53.3% (16-30) in the first half, including 8-16 (50%) from downtown, and extended that lead to a game-high six points (42-36) after two Bess free-throws less than a minute into the second half. Merrimack used a 9-3 run to reclaim the lead (45-44) when Hayes split two free-throw attempts three minutes in.

The game went back and forth until Stonehill was able to regain its two possession lead (57-53) after a Lee jumper with 11:20 remaining. Hayes forced the game's eighth tie (57-57) with 10:43 on the clock, when the Skyhawks scored seven of nine points to take a five point lead (64-59) on a Walsh three with 8:54 to go.

Stonehill still held a four point lead (69-65) after a Berroa layup with 4:28 to play, when Merrimack scored six straight to take the lead (71-69) following a Barry tip-in with 1:33 left. Senior preseason All-American Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) provided the game's tenth and final deadlock (71-71) at the other end, and then Merrimack got a Barry layup and two Hayes free-throws around a Skyhawks turnover to gain a two-possession advantage (75-71) with 14-seconds left. Lee went the length of the court and pulled Stonehill back within two with seven seconds to go, but the Warriors were able to get the inbounds pass and Hayes made two free-throws to seal it.

Stonehill (3-2, 1-2 NE-10) is back in action on Sunday when it visits No. 7/8 Saint Thomas Aquinas College for a non-conference matchup at 3 p.m. The Skyhawks return home on Wednesday, December 7, to host Southern New Hampshire University for an NE-10 matchup at 7:30 p.m. Merrimack (4-1, 2-0 NE-10) hosts Concordia (N.Y.) College on Sunday at 3 p.m.

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