MANCHESTER, N.H. – Gelvis Solano totaled a game-high 35 points to lead Merrimack College to a 78-73 Northeast-10 men's basketball triumph over Southern New Hampshire University at the SNHU Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon. The Warriors improve to 6-3 and 4-3 in the NE-10, while the Penmen now stand 5-5 and 3-5 in the league.
Solano recorded 24 of his points in the second half and finished 11-13 at the free throw line and 11-24 from the floor. Kevin Regan was the other Warrior in double figures, as he notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, going 5-10 from the field.
Southern New Hampshire was paced by sophomore Rodney Sanders (Linden, N.J.), who knocked down five three pointers, going 5-10 behind the arc, and totaled 21 points and nine rebounds. Elijah Bonsignore (Felton, Del.) posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Mike Stys (Hooksett, N.H.) added 13 points, going 3-7 behind the arc.
Merrimack trailed 40-28 at halftime and by as many as 15 in the opening moments of the second half before embarking on a 21-2 run capped by back-to-back Solano threes to give the Warriors a 51-47 lead with 11:57 to play. Southern New Hampshire countered with a 12-4 spurt and back-to-back threes sandwiching a Solano basket put the Penmen up 59-55 with 8:36 to go.
Southern New Hampshire led 64-59 with 6:36 left after a Max Taylor (Shokan, N.Y.) three before a 9-2 Warrior run capped by a Regan basket with 2:37 to go put the guests in front for good at 68-66. Merrimack sealed the victory by going 10-10 at the free throw line in the final minute despite Sanders knocking down a pair of three pointers.
The game saw three ties and three lead changes in the first seven minutes before the Penmen took control on a Sanders three with 12:04 left before halftime that made it 16-15 in favor of Southern New Hampshire. Merrimack trailed 30-25 with 5:23 to go on a Regan basket, but the Penmen held the Warriors without a field goal for the rest of the half and closed on a 10-3 run to take a 40-28 lead into the locker room.
Merrimack shot 56.5% (13-23) over the final 20 minutes and 43.1% for the game while taking 20 more trips to the free throw line than Southern New Hampshire, going 31-35 while the Penmen were 11-15. SNHU shot 40.3% for the contest and was 12-31 behind the arc while the Warriors connected on just three of 18 from long range. Both teams grabbed 34 rebounds.
Southern New Hampshire is idle until January 2 when it travels to the University of New Haven for a 7:00 non-conference contest. The next Penmen home game is set for Saturday, January 11, when SNHU entertains American International College in a 3:30 Northeast-10 tilt at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
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