MANCHESTER, N.H. – Sophomore Roy Mabrey (Belmar, N.J.) was one of five Hawks in double figures with 23 points to lead the 10th-ranked Saint Anselm College men's basketball team past Merrimack College, 94-83, Wednesday evening at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
The Hawks win for the 17th time in the last 19 contests, including 14 of 15, and match their season-long win streak of seven games. They climb to 19-3 on the season (15-3 in Northeast-10 play; 9-1 at home), which marks the best start for Saint Anselm since it went 20-2 to kick off the 1995-96 campaign. The Hawks sweep the two-game, regular-season series from Merrimack for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The Warriors dip to 9-14, 6-12 NE-10.
Mabrey snapped out of a short slump as he shot 5 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, and made a career-best 10 of 13 from the free throw line. He also tallied six rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 40 minutes. Freshman Mike McCahey (Clarkstown, N.Y.) backed Mabrey with 18 points (5-13 FG; 2-7 3-FG; 6-6 FT) and five boards. Three days after posting the first double-double of his career, sophomore Chris Santo (Cherry Hill, N.J.) did it again with 14 points (5-8 FG; 4-6 FT) and 10 boards, while adding in a career-high four steals and three assists.
Senior James Morse (Arundel, Maine) netted 13 points (4-9 FG; 3-6 3-FG; 2-2 FT), while collecting four rebounds and handing out a pair of assists. Junior Dino Mallios (Winthrop, Mass.) also submitted another solid performance with 12 points (3-10 FG; 2-3 3-FG; 4-6 FT), seven assists, three steals and three rebounds.
Saint Anselm was holding on to an 81-79 lead with just over four minutes left when a McCahey layup, followed by 3-pointers from Morse and McCahey, quickly widened the gap to 10 with 1:16 to play. The Hawks would hit five of their six free throws down the stretch to win by 11.
The opening 10 minutes featured five lead changes and three ties, with neither team leading by more than five. Tied at 24, the Hawks scored seven straight points – with the final five coming from Santo – to grab a 31-24 lead with 7:18 to go in the first half.
Merrimack would slice it back to just a pair at the 5:49 mark with a 3 from Ryan Woumn and a layup by Mike Clifford. With the gap still two a minute-and-a-half later, a Morse 3-pointer keyed a 9-2 Saint Anselm run that opened its lead up to 46-37 with 2:26 on the clock. Morse had five points and McCahey added four during the stretch.
After a pair of JT Strickland free throws, McCahey buried a trey to push the lead to an even 10 with 1:11 left. The teams would trade scores twice to close the half and the Hawks took a 53-43 lead into the locker room. They improved to 16-0 when leading at the break this season.
Mabrey opened the second-half scoring with a pair of free throws before Mallios drained a 3 that stretched the lead to 13 just 1:12 in. Merrimack would get it back to nine, but Mallios again knocked down an outside shot to give Saint Anselm its largest lead of the night at 65-51 with 16:23 remaining.
Merrimack answered with a balanced 14-5 run that saw six different players score a point over the next four-and-a-half minutes to trim the deficit to 70-65 with 11:45 left. With the Hawks' lead at six nearly four minutes later, Mabrey knocked down a triple to expand the lead to 76-67, but an 8-2 run – with four points from Tyler Young – pulled the Warriors within three at the 5:54 mark. Mabrey would then hit one of two at the stripe before a Clifford layup cut it to two with 4:31 to go.
Overall shooting was nearly even with Merrimack holding a 44.7 percent (34-76) to 43.8 percent (28-64) edge, but Saint Anselm outshot the Warriors, 50 percent (12-24) to 18.8 percent (3-16) from long distance. Merrimack owned the paint by a 50-26 margin and only trailed by one on the glass (43-42), but the Hawks held a sizable advantage at the line (26-34/12-15).
Gelvis Solano led the Warriors with 23 points, while Clifford added 20.
The Hawks return to action Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3:30 p.m. when they travel across the state to take on Franklin Pierce University. The next home game for the Hawks is Saturday, Feb. 23 at 3:30 p.m. when they play host to Saint Michael's College at Stoutenburgh. Stay up-to-date with the latest news, including game previews and recaps, directly from the Saint Anselm College athletic department by liking us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/STAHawks) and following us on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/STAHawks).