NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Saint Anselm College men's basketball team nearly pulled out some late game heroics, but the Hawks dropped a 78-76 decision to Merrimack College on Saturday afternoon in Northeast-10 Conference action in North Andover, Mass.
The Hawks had their seven-game winning-streak snapped to drop to 13-7 overall and 9-7 in the NE10, while Merrimack improved to 17-6 and 11-5 in league games with the win.
Tim Guers finished with a game-high 26 points to with seven rebounds and three assists to lead the Hawks. Cody Ball added 20 points and four rebounds, while Harrison Taggart netted 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Chris Braley just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
Merrimack had five players reach double-figures in scoring led by 21 points and 10 assists from Juvaris Hayes. Jaleel Lord added 13 points off the bench, while Anthony Barry and Ryan Boulter scored 12 points apiece.
Merrimack scored the opening basket of the game on a Juvaris Hayes triple, but the Hawks answered with an 8-0 run to take an 8-3 advantage with 17:09 remaining in the first half. Chris Braley would make it an 11-6 game with a layup inside, and a Cody Ball three-pointer kept it a six-point game at 18-12 nearly five minutes later. A Kyle Green layup at the 10:45 mark would give Saint Anselm a 22-13 lead with 10:45 to play in the opening period.
Five-straight points from the Warriors trimmed the Hawk lead to 22-18, but Guers converted a lefty layup to keep Saint Anselm ahead 24-18. After a Kyle Howes layup for Merrimack, the Hawks scored five-straight of their own to take a 29-20 lead with 7:48 to play.
This time the home team answered with a run of its own, racing out to a 21-4 spurt to take a 41-33 lead headed into the final minute. Guers ended the run with a tip-in, but Troy McLaughlin answered right back as the game entered the half with Merrimack on top 43-35.
Cody Ball scored the first six points of the second period for Saint Anselm, but Merrimack still opened up a 56-43 advantage following a Jaleel Lord triple that forced a Hawk timeout. The two teams traded baskets over the next few minutes, and back-to-back threes and a layup from Tim Guers trimmed the deficit to 60-56 with 11:48 to play in the second half.
Juvaris Hayes scored out of a timeout to make it a 62-56 game, but Guers continued his run with four more points to make it a one possession game at 62-60 with just over 10 minutes to play. Merrimack responded with an 8-3 run before Chris Braley scored inside and left the Hawks trailing 70-65 and 6:41 to play in the period.
A Cody Ball triple at the 4:47 mark cut the deficit to 74-70, and Harrison Taggart scored on the next possession to make it a two-point game again at 74-72. Merrimack answered again as Anthony Barry banked home a 15-footer to put the Warriors back on top by four at 76-72. Taylor Fortin drove the lane and scooped home a shot to pull the Hawks back to within two, but Hayes answered this time with a layup to make it a 78-74 game and only 1:57 to play.
At the 1:05 mark, Guers stole the ball and went the length of the floor, earning a foul and knocking down the pair to pull the Hawks back to within two at 78-76 and 1:01 remaining. The Hawks got a stop on defense, but came away empty-handed on their chance to tie in the closing seconds. Merrimack threw the ball away in their final possession and the Hawks had one more chance at a game-tying basket, but turned the ball right back over as Merrimack was able to run out the clock and hang on for the 78-76 win.
Saint Anselm shot 48.3% (29-of-60) from the field, 36% (9-of-25) from beyond the arc and 69.2% (9-of-13) from the free throw line in the game. Merrimack knocked down 54% (34-of-63) of their shots, while connecting on 38.5% (5-of-13) of their threes and 62.5% (5-of-8) of their free throws. The Hawks won the rebound battle, 34-30, but committed 13 turnovers to only nine for the home team.
Saint Anselm returns to action on Tuesday night when they host Assumption College at 7:30 p.m. in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
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