North Andover, Mass. (January 28) -- On Saturday afternoon, the Assumption men's basketball team dropped a 70-64 final to Merrimack in Northeast-10 Conference play at the Volpe Center. The Hounds cut a double-digit lead down to two with two minutes remaining before dropping the six-point defeat.
Assumption came out firing and midway thru the first half, the Hounds held an 18-10 advantage following a three from Mike Auriemma (Manchester, Conn./The Hun School). The Hounds still held a 20-15 advantage with 7:43 on the clock before Merrimack put together an 8-0 run, capped by a layup by Wilfredo Pagan, to regain the lead at 23-20. Assumption quickly grabbed the lead back on a pair of threes from Kevin Donahue (Pawcatuck, Conn./Stonington) and held a 29-28 edge with 1:29 on the clock. Merrimack closed on a 4-0 run, including a baseline jumper from Wayne Mack to make it a 33-29 halftime margin.
Merrimack quickly opened up a 37-31 lead in the second, but the Hounds hung tough and climbed back to within one at 41-40 with 14:50 left after a three from Ronson Quick (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee). With the score 44-43 in favor of Merrimack, the Warriors put together an 11-2 run over the next 3:49 to push the lead into double digits for the first time at 55-45.
Trailing by 12 with 7:30 remaining, the Hounds put together a quick 7-0 spurt, capped by a backdoor layup from Donahue, to cut the Merrimack edge back to 59-54 at the 5:48 mark. After the Warriors made it an eight-point game yet again, Ryan Rozsnaki (Montreal, Quebec/Landstown) knocked down a three for a 62-57 margin with 4:19 left. Clutch free throw shooting in the final minutes from freshman Jimmy Zenevitch (Methuen, Mass./Central Catholic), including a pair with 2:00 on the clock, pulled the Hounds to within a basket at 62-60. That was as close as the Hounds would get though as the Warriors held on for the victory.
Donahue finished with 24 points for the Hounds as three Assumption players finished in double figures.
With the loss, Assumption falls to 8-11 overall and 6-9 in the Northeast-10, while Merrimack improves to 10-9 overall and 7-8 in the league.
Assumption is back in action on Tuesday, January 31st as the Hounds travel to Southern Connecticut for a 7:30 p.m. start in New Haven, Conn.