Men’s Basketball Outlasts #24 Merrimack in Overtime, 84-79

BOX SCORE
RAPID REACTION WITH HEAD COACH STAN SPIROU
HIGHLIGHTS

When and Where: November 21, 2017 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score:
Southern New Hampshire University 84, Merrimack College 79 (OT)
Records:
SNHU 5-0 (3-0 NE10), Merrimack 4-2 (1-1 NE10)

Senior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) and junior Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) each recorded 20-point double-doubles to guide the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team to an 84-79 overtime triumph against 24th-ranked Merrimack College on Tuesday night at the SNHU Fieldhouse.

Walters recorded a game-high 27 points (11-20 FG, 5-8 FT), 11 rebounds and four assists, with Andrews posting 20 points (8-14 FG, 2-5 3-FG, 2-3 FT), including 17 after halftime, while matching career highs in both rebounds (13) and assists (5). Senior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) netted 18 points (6-14 FG, 4-10 3-FG, 2-2 FT) to go along with four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. Junior Charlie Russo (Syracuse, N.Y.) was also in double figures with 10 points (2-6 FG, 2-6 3-FG, 4-6 FT).

Juvaris Hayes paced the Warriors with 25 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

Southern New Hampshire led by four with a minute-and-a-half remaining in regulation when layups from Ryan Boulter and Idris Joyner, sandwiched around a Penmen turnover, tied the game with 30 seconds on the clock. SNHU would miss its shot at the buzzer on the other end to send the game to overtime.

An Andrews 3-pointer just over a minute into the extra session sparked a 12-2 run that opened an 81-71 lead with less than a half-minute to go. Walters contributed six points during the stretch, including a monster dunk. Merrimack would get as close as five on a Hayes 3-pointer with 15 ticks left, but a pair of free throws from Floras sealed it.

The Warriors scored the first six points of the contest before an 11-4 run – highlighted by four points from senior Scott Toresco (Westfield, N.J.), and 3-pointers from Andrews and Russo – gave Southern New Hampshire its first lead at 11-10 just over five minutes in.

After a Hayes triple stopped the bleeding, six points from Walters and five from Floras carried a 14-2 blitz that gave SNHU a 25-15 advantage midway through the opening stanza. Merrimack would whittle the deficit down to six with under three minutes remaining when a 9-2 run – powered by a pair of 3-pointers from Jaleel Lord and another from Troy McLaughlin – catapulted Merrimack into the lead at 37-36 with 1:21 to go. Floras would can a 3 with 16 seconds on the clock to send the Penmen to the break with a 39-37 edge.

An Andrews bucket opened the second-half scoring to give the Penmen a four-point lead, but a 10-0 run – with six points from Hayes and four from Kyle Howes – put Merrimack on top, 47-41, just over four minutes in. A Floras 3-pointer triggered an 8-2 run that was capped by five points from Andrews to knot the game at 49-all, but the Warriors would eventually push the lead back to six at 59-53 near the 11-minute mark.

A 7-0 run – with contributions from Walters, Andrews and Floras – allowed SNHU to overtake Merrimack, 60-59, with 8:35 remaining. The visitors would forge a 63-63 tie, with the hosts then forcing a draw at 65-65. A layup from Andrews and a put-back slam from Waters would put the Penmen up four with 1:35 left, but Merrimack would make one final push to force overtime.

Toresco chipped in four points (2-3 FG), five boards and three assists, with junior Remo Simankevicius (Melbourne, Australia) adding three points (1-2 FG, 1-2 FT), four rebounds and a pair of blocks.

Notes:
-Southern New Hampshire improves to 5-0 for the second straight year.
-Walters' double-double is his third of the season and 24th of his career, while Andrews' is his second of the year and sixth in a Penmen uniform.
- SNHU outshot Merrimack, 49.2 percent (31-63) to 41.1 percent (30-73), including 33.3 percent (8-24) to 29.6 percent (8-27) from beyond the arc.
-Southern New Hampshire was plus-three at the line, despite being outshot, 73.3 percent (11-15) to 63.6 percent (14-22).
-The Penmen owned a 46-34 advantage on the glass, while points in the paint were even at 38-all. The Warriors featured a better assist-to-turnover ratio (14/12-17/19) and held a 24-12 advantage in points off mistakes.

Up Next:
The Penmen return to action Sunday, Nov. 26 (3:30 p.m.) when they play host to Felician College at the SNHU Fieldhouse in a game that will air live on WGIR 610-AM.

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