- Score: Merrimack 73, Assumption 55
- Record: Merrimack (15-7, 10-5 NE10), Assumption (6-16, 2-13 NE10),
- Location: Worcester, Mass. (Laska Gym)
- The Lead: Assumption was unable to get in an offensive groove and Merrimack used a pesky defense to pull away for a 73-55 victory over the Hounds on Wednesday evening in conference action.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Senior Damien Rance (Melbourne, Australia / Pope John XXIII / San Francisco State) and the Hounds got the game started with a jump shot at 16:58 for a 2-0 lead. Shortly after, Merrimack tied it up with a layup. After some back-and-forth buckets from Matthew Kelly (North Potomac, Md. / Quince Orchard) and Chris Crespo (Smithtown, N.Y. / Smithtown West), Assumption took the lead 7-6 at 13:29.
- However, Merrimack's aggressive play and full court pressure caught up to Assumption. The Warriors took a six-point lead with a three pointer at 10:52 to make it 15-9. Merrimack then went on an 11-0 run to make it 28-12 with 5:33 left in the half. A Rance layup ended the Assumption drought at 4:36, but the Warriors continued to pressure and led 42-23 at the break.
- Merrimack's defense pressure on the struggling Assumption offense throughout the second. Michael Speight (Morningside, Md. / Wise / Canterbury) started the scoring for the Hounds with a three at 17:35. Juvaris Hayes continued to score at ease and pushed the lead above 20 before Speight finished an old-fashioned three-point play opportunity at 13:46 to make it 54-33 for the Warriors.
- Rance ended the Assumption two-minute scoring draught with a layup of his own. Merrimack's fierce defense and transitional offense was too much for the Hounds, though they were able to get within 16 in the final four minutes on four straight points from Malik Brown (Waldorf, Md. / Northpoint). The Warriors, however, came away with the 18-point victory, 73-55.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Assumption shot 37.9 percent from the floor and made 6 of 18 shots from downtown, while the Warriors connected on 48.4 percent of their shots overall. Merrimack was 6 of 16 from beyond the arc and held a slight rebounding edge (38-34) while forcing 18 Hound turnovers.
- Speight had 14 second-half points and finished with 17 overall, along with two blocks. Rance provided a double-double of ten points and ten rebounds, as well as three assists and three steals. Brown had eight points and four boards in just nine minutes while Patrick Fleming (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. / Iona Prep) chipped in two points, seven rebounds and four assists.
- Hayes paced Merrimack with 18 points, eight rebounds, seven steals and three assists while Idris Joyner added 14 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Mike Watkins was also in double figures with 14 points and four boards.
- Assumption returns to action on Saturday when the team hosts Bentley at 3:30 p.m.