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Warriors keep Winning. Men’s Basketball Extend Win Streak to Six in a Row

Jack Lawhorne & Robert Gambale – Student Reporters

Photo by Lauren Hearn (hearnphotography)

NORTH ANDOVER, Ma. – The Warriors came into a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Le Moyne Dolphins following a huge overtime win at LIU on Thursday. Riding a huge win streak, the plan wasn’t to slow down. 

Ahead of the matchup with Le Moyne, Merrimack sat second in the NEC with a 14-10 record (8-2 NEC) in comparison to Le Moyne who came in with a 10-13 record (5-4 NEC), good enough for fourth in the conference. 

The Warriors entered the contest with all the momentum. While Le Moyne won their last game in blow out fashion, it came against last place Stonehill (3-22). Merrimack had won their last five up to this point and continue to fight for the top spot in the Northeast. 

While Merrimack came in hot, Le Moyne capitalized on chances early, hitting most of their looks. Nonetheless, the Warriors dominated the latter part of the first half and entered halftime with a ten-point lead. 

The full court press and 3-2 zone established by Head Coach Joe Gallo was a critical reason why the Warriors led by 10 at the half. The stifling pressure the defense applied was able to hold Le Moyne to a minuscule 25 points.

Jordan Derkack started slow but got into a rhythm as the half went on, throwing down a punishing and-one fastbreak and finishing it off with a staredown.

Derkack and the Warriors looked to build on a great first half, and they did just that. On the very first possession of the half, they forced Le Moyne into a shot clock violation. A few possessions later, big man Bryan Etumnu threw down a vicious slam dunk off a beautiful feed from Budd Clark. 

After a few minutes of scoreless basketball, mainly thanks to defensive intensity, Bryan Etumnu opened up the scoring again. Draining with a three ball assisted by Jordan Derkack which extended Merrimack’s lead to 15. Le Moyne, however, was not ready to go away just yet, they quickly cut their deficit back to 10.

Once the clock went under 10 minutes in the second half, the Warriors really got back into their rhythm, using their defense as their superpower.

Budd Clark, who entered the game leading the NEC and finding himself in the top 15 in the country in steals (2.4), finished with an astonishing six to lead the Warriors in the right direction. Clark also led all scorers with 15 and had a game-high 5 assists. Another great game from him to add to his already stellar freshman resume.

Leading by seven with eight minutes to go, Merrimack went on a 13-0 run to expand their lead to 62-42. From there on, that was essentially all she wrote.

The Warriors end up with a huge conference win and continue to battle with Central Connecticut for the top spot in the NEC and with that, a chance to go to March Madness. Merrimack excels to 15-10 (9-2 NEC) and still share the top of the mountain with CCSU in the conference.

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