NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College men's basketball team was toppled by the host Warriors from Merrimack College by a 61-39 score on Saturday at Volpe Gymnasium.
Ranked 17th in NCAA Division II by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II Poll and the D2SIDA National Media Poll, the Hawks (17-4, 13-3 NE10) lose only their fourth game of the season. Merrimack moves to 16-7 overall and to 11-5 against the conference.
Senior Cody Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) scored 12 points and dished out four assists. Sophomore Chris Paul (Highland Mills, N.Y.) and junior Danny Evans (Leeds, United Kingdom) were responsible for six points with sophomore Gustav Suhr-Jessen (Virum, Denmark) hauling in a game-high eight rebounds.
The Hawks shot under 29% from the floor in the defeat, committing an uncharacteristic 23 turnovers as the Warriors poured home nine three-point baskets and shot just over 45% from the field. In total, Merrimack controlled the paint scoring (44-to-34) and notched 32 points off of Saint Anselm miscues.
Merrimack put the game out of reach late in the first half, capping a 31-7 scoring run with three-straight baskets by Mikey Watkins. In that stretch, a stout Merrimack defense limited the Hawks to a 2-for-14 performance from the floor, forcing the Hawks into 10 turnovers in a span of 13:51. Watkins had 12 points in that stretch as his team was 12-for-20 shooting, making four triples.
Both teams scored exactly 21 points in the second half as neither squad was able to find a potent scoring touch in the final 20 minutes. Merrimack was led by a 14-point performance by Juvaris Hayes – he also added six takeaways and five assists in the win.
Saint Anselm remains atop the Northeast Division heading into Tuesday's contest at home against Assumption. The opening tip is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.