NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Gelvis Solano finished with 30 points to lead Merrimack College to a 75-71 Northeast-10 men's basketball victory over Southern New Hampshire University at Hammel Court Wednesday night. The Warriors improved to 3-0 and 1-0 in NE-10 play, while the Penmen are now 1-1 and 0-1 in the league.
Solano finished 11-17 from the floor, including 4-6 behind the arc, to lead four Merrimack players in double figures. JT Strickland finished with 12 points and seven assists, while Kevin Regan and Troy Hammel added 10 points apiece.
Junior Elijah Bonsignore (Felton, Del.) led Southern New Hampshire with 18 points and seven rebounds while Rodney Sanders (Linden, N.J.) knocked down three three-pointers and totaled 15 points and four assists. Aleksandar Dobrovic (Podgorica, Montenegro) tallied 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Mike Stys (Hooksett, N.H.) added 12 points.
Southern New Hampshire held a 58-47 lead with just under 11 minutes to play following a three-pointer by Dobrovic, but Merrimack climbed back into the game with a 9-2 run to cut the lead to four, 60-56, with a Regan basket. The Penmen were up 66-60 with just over four minutes left when seven straight Warriors points capped by a Solano three at the 3:02 mark gave the hosts their first lead of the second half, 67-66.
A conventional three-point play by CJ Marriro (Boston, Mass.) with 2:38 left put Southern New Hampshire back on top 69-66, but Solano answered with another trifecta to give Merrimack the lead for good, 70-69. Neither team scored until a Solano basket with 30 seconds left made it 72-69. Marriro would sink two at the line with 19 seconds left to cut it to one, but two Solano free throws with 16 seconds to go made it 74-71. SNHU came up empty on its final possession and Hammel sank a free throw to account for the final.
After SNHU opened the game with a quick 7-2 lead, Merrimack scored 13 straight points to build a 15-7 lead five minutes into the game following a Regan layup. Southern New Hampshire chipped away at the lead and a Sanders basket 5:37 before intermission gave the Penmen a 28-26 lead. The guests stayed in front the rest of the half and took a 33-32 lead to the locker room.
Merrimack shot 16-28 (57.1%) overall and 6-11 (54.5%) from three over the final 20 minutes and connected on eight of its 16 three-point attempts for the game. The Warriors took 11 more trips to the free throw line, going 15-23 while SNHU was 10-12, and the hosts committed just nine turnovers while the Penmen had 15, leading to a 19-4 Merrimack advantage in points off turnovers. SNHU shot 38.8% for the contest and connected on nine of its 27 attempts behind the arc.
Southern New Hampshire returns to action Saturday when it hosts Holy Family University in a 3:30 non-conference contest at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
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