When and Where: December 18, 2016 – No. Andover, Mass. (Hammel Court)
Score: Merrimack College 94, Southern New Hampshire University 78
Records: Merrimack 8-3 (5-2 NE10), SNHU 8-2 (5-2 NE10)
Senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) registered the 1,000th point of his career and his third double-double of the season, but it was not enough as the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team suffered a 94-78 loss to Merrimack College on Sunday afternoon at Hammel Court.
Gilligan posted 21 points (7-19 FG, 7-9 FT) and 12 rebounds, including seven of the offensive variety, while redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) turned in another high-scoring performance with 19 points (5-11 FG, 9-9 FT), five rebounds and two steals. Junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) tallied 10 points (4-16 FG, 2-9 3-FG), eight boards, two assists and two steals, with sophomore Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) also netting 10 points (3-8 FG, 4-6 FT) to go along with seven rebounds and a pair of helpers.
Ryan Boulter scored a game-high 25 points for Merrimack, with Anthony Barry adding 20. Juvaris Hayes nearly notched a triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.
Senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) and Floras bookended a game-opening 8-2 run with 3-pointers that gave Southern New Hampshire an early six-point lead just 3:18 into the contest. Gilligan notched his 1,000th point on the front end of two free throws at the 18:51 mark that gave SNHU a 4-0 lead. Five points from Boulter powered a 10-2 counter-run that put Merrimack in front for the first time at 12-10 with 14:38 remaining in the opening half.
The game of runs continued as another Floras trey triggered a 9-0 rush that gave the Penmen their largest lead of the contest at 19-12 with 11:25 to play. The margin was the same when seven straight points from the Warriors knotted the game at 21-all with 8:29 on the clock.
Merrimack held a two-point edge just over a minute later when an 8-0 burst – with Gilligan contributing the final four points – opened up a 33-27 lead for SNHU with just over five minutes to go before the break. Boulter then capped a 7-0 counter-run that leapfrogged Merrimack in front at 34-33 with 3:16 left, but the Penmen again answered, reeling off five straight to go up, 38-34, with 2:19 remaining.
The Warriors would then score seven of the half's final 10 points, with Troy McLaughlin's three-point play sending the teams to the locker room tied at 41.
Gilligan would drop in a layup just 30 seconds into the second stanza to give Southern New Hampshire its final lead of the day at 43-41. A pair of free throws from Walters left the game tied at 45 with 18:10 remaining, but a Kyle Howes layup snapped the deadlock and gave Merrimack the lead for good at 47-45 with 16:49 to play.
The Penmen were still hanging around down by two when a 12-2 run – with five points from Hayes and three from McLaughlin – extended the Merrimack lead to 64-52 at the 10:29 mark. Five consecutive points from Walters would get SNHU to within seven, but the Warriors instantly ran the lead right back to 12 with 8:53 to go.
Southern New Hampshire would eventually climb back within seven at the 3:19 mark, but a 10-0 rush – with Boulter providing half the points – put the game away as Merrimack grabbed a game-high 17-point lead at 93-76 with 44 ticks left.
Senior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) tallied nine points (3-10 FG, 2-4 3-FG, 1-1 FT), five assists and two rebounds, with Harris chipping in five points (2-6 FG, 1-4 3-FG) and three boards.
-Gilligan, who came into the game with 999 career points, now has 1,020, including 862 in a Penmen uniform.
-The double-double was Gilligan's third of the season and eighth of his career.
-Merrimack outshot Southern New Hampshire, 56.7 percent (34-60) to 33.8 percent (26-77), including 42.9 percent (9-21) to 20.8 percent (5-24) from long distance and 65.4 percent (17-26) to 28.9 percent (11-38) in the second half.
-SNHU was plus-4 at the line and outshot Merrimack, 84 percent (21-15) to 73.9 percent (17-23).
-The Penmen held a 44-39 advantage on the glass, including 20-5 on the offensive end for a 12-2 margin in second chance points. SNHU also narrowly won the paint (40-38), with the Warriors turning in a slightly better assist-to-turnover ratio (18/14-11/10). The Penmen, however, turned their plus-4 turnover margin into a 17-12 gap in points off mistakes.
The Penmen are now off until Friday, Dec. 30 (3:30 p.m.) when they play host to Concordia (N.Y.) College in non-league play at the Fieldhouse on Youth Day. Admission for children 12-and-under is free!
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