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Mack keeps on Marching! Warriors Basketball makes it nine straight wins

Jack Lawhorne, Robert Gambale & Josh Canning – Student Reporters

Photo by Nate Tacey (@natetaceyphotography)

NORTH ANDOVER, Ma. – After a home victory over LIU this past weekend, the NEC’s top dog Merrimack Warriors looked to earn their ninth straight W in their last home game of the season against St. Francis University (8-18, 3-10 NEC).

The Warriors came into senior night boasting a 17-10 (11-2 NEC) record, looking to pull away from second place Central Connecticut State, 15-10 (9-3 NEC) who had a simultaneously important matchup against Wagner.

Honing in on the matchup, Merrimack boasted the 2nd ranked defense in the conference with the 5th ranked offense, in comparison to Saint Francis, who ranked 7th in defense and 6th in offense.

The Warriors started this game off hot, jumping out to a quick 8-0 lead. Their high intensity defense off the start remains a consistent factor. Senior forward Samba Diallo was on fire with 9 points in the first 10 minutes of the first frame. Diallo also finished the half with 6 rebounds and made all three of his free throws.

This recap can’t go on without mentioning “Budd” Clark’s amazing fast break play, especially at the rim. Baby Jesus had a highlight reel reverse lay early in the game that had everyone in awe.

Jordan Derkack brought a ton of energy for the Warriors and his teammates visibly loved it. From diving on the floor for loose balls to seeking out the open man, his contributions through the first half did not go unnoticed.

Merrimack closed out the half with a 33-25 lead. Despite the teams 8 steals, and 11 turnovers forced, St. Francis still remained in striking distance. Clark and Diallo led the way with 9 points each for Merrimack. 

Opening up the second half, The Warriors had a more difficult time pulling away with a lead than they have in previous outings. 

At the ten minute mark of the second half, the Warriors had tallied just a little above 50 points, which isn’t close to their average points per game of 69. 

Saint Francis was knocking on the doorstep before a Jacob O’Connell three kept them off the porch. O’Connell made it 55-44 game forcing a timeout called by SFU.

It didn’t help much, as on the very next possession, a Budd Clark steal and Jordan McKoy outlet pass turned into a Jordan Derkack hammer in transition, which electrified the crowd. 

Devon Savage and Jordan McKoy were crucial in the second half, each making three three-point shots to keep the cushion for the Warriors.

In a game where they never seemed to let up above more than 7 points, Merrimack continued to control the pace of the game through the ins and outs of the second half.  

The Warriors ended up defeating St. Francis PA 71-60 to improve to 12-2 in the NEC. A dominant all around performance where they never let go of the lead. Leaving Merrimack with a week off until a big match up next Thursday at FDU. 

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