Men’s Basketball Pulls Out 89-79 Win Against Merrimack


When and Where: February 11, 2017 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Southern New Hampshire University 89, Merrimack College 79
SNHU 17-6 (13-5 Northeast-10), Merrimack 17-8 (11-7 Northeast-10)

Redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) and senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) combined for nearly 50 points to lead the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team to a massive 89-79 win against Merrimack College on Saturday afternoon at the SNHU Fieldhouse.

Walters flirted with a triple-double as he stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points (7-13 FG, 12-13 FT), 14 rebounds, a career-high seven assists, two blocks and two steals, while Gilligan, who missed the final 22 minutes of Wednesday's loss at Bentley University due to injury, fell just shy of a double-double with 24 points (8-9 FG, 3-3 3-FG, 5-6 FT), nine boards and a pair of assists. Sophomore Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y.) posted 17 points (7-14 FG, 1-3 3-FG, 2-2 FT), five rebounds and two helpers, with junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) also reaching double figures with 12 points (3-14 FG, 2-6 3-FG, 4-4 FT), six rebounds and four assists.

Ryan Boulter paced the Warriors with 19 points, while Troy McLaughlin added 18. Juvaris Hayes, like Walters, also toyed with triple-double territory as he registered 12 points, 10 assists and seven steals.

Southern New Hampshire fell behind, 8-2, early before a 10-0 run – highlighted by 3-pointers from senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) and Floras – put it in front, 12-8, just over four minutes into the contest. With the score tied at 15-all over a minute-and-a-half later, buckets from Gilligan bookended a 13-4 rush that featured five different scorers and expanded the Penmen lead to 28-19 with 9:34 remaining in the opening half.

Two baskets from Hayes helped craft a 6-0 spurt that made it a three-point game for the Warriors before they crept to within one at 36-35 with 1:36 on the clock. Gilligan would score the final five points of the frame to send Southern New Hampshire into the locker room with a 41-35 advantage.

After a McLaughlin triple sliced the Merrimack deficit in half just 12 seconds in, a 6-2 run from the Penmen – with three points each from Gilligan and Andrews – built the lead up to 47-40 at the 18:35 mark of the second. The margin grew as large as eight just over two minutes later before Merrimack responded with an 18-4 blitz that featured four points each from McLaughlin and Anthony Barry, as well as three from Hayes, Boulter and Jaleel Lord, to open up a 63-57 lead with 8:57 remaining. Boulter's 3 to put Merrimack up, 59-57, at the 11:24 mark gave the visitors their first lead since 16:28 of the opening stanza.

SNHU hit right back, however, receiving five points each from Andrews, Floras and Gilligan as part of a 17-4 counter-run that put the Penmen back in front, 74-67, with just over four minutes to play. Gilligan's layup at 6:39 gave the hosts the lead for good at 66-65.

Merrimack would get as close as four with under three minutes on the clock, but a 10-3 run pushed the lead into double figures at a game-high 11 (87-76) with 43 seconds on the clock.. The Penmen went a perfect 8-for-8 from the line over the final 1:23.

Sophomore Charlie Russo (Syracuse, N.Y.) chipped in six points (2-3 FG, 2-3 3-FG) and two rebounds.

-The win snaps SNHU's first two-game losing skid since Jan. 16-20, 2016.
-With the win, the Penmen take a two-game lead on Merrimack in the NE10 Northeast Division standings. Crosstown-rival Saint Anselm College remains two games back after winning Saturday.
-SNHU improves to a perfect 13-0 at home this season, matching last season's team for the highest number of home wins since 2004-05, and has won 16 straight at the Fieldhouse dating back to Feb. 17 of last season. The Penmen are 26-3 at home since the start of the 2015-16 campaign and 38-7 over the last three seasons.
-Walters' double-double was his sixth of the season and 18th of his career.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Merrimack, 46.7 percent (28-60) to 43.5 percent (30-69), including 42.9 percent (9-21) to 40 percent (10-25) from downtown.
-SNHU was also plus-15 at the line, outshooting Merrimack, 82.8 percent (24-29) to 81.8 percent (9-11).
 -The Penmen dominated the glass, 48-27, including 17-10 on the offensive end for a 24-8 margin in second chance points, and narrowly won the paint, 36-34. The Warriors used a better assist-to-turnover ratio (15/8-19/16) to record a 19-10 advantage in points off mistakes.

Up Next:
The Penmen return to action Wednesday, Feb. 15 (7:30 p.m.) when they take on in-state rival Franklin Pierce University. The next home game for SNHU is Saturday, Feb. 18 (3:30 p.m.) when it plays host to Stonehill College on Senior Day at the Fieldhouse.

For the latest on Southern New Hampshire University athletics, follow the Penmen via social media on TwitterFacebookYoutube and Instagram. Sign up to receive text message alerts and e-mail newsletters about your favorite Penmen teams here.