- Score: Merrimack 71, Assumption 65
- Record: Merrimack (3-0, 1-0 NE10), Assumption (0-3, 0-1 NE10)
- Location: Worcester, Mass. (Laska Gym)
- The Lead: Assumption overcame a slow start to pull in front at the half and led by two points with four minutes remaining, but No. 18 Merrimack ended the game on a 13-5 run to escape with a 71-65 victory on Wednesday evening in the conference opener for both teams.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Merrimack jumped out to an 8-1 lead, though Assumption rebounded with a run of its own to grab a 13-11 advantage at 13:34 off a triple from Branislav Vujadinovic (Belgrade, Serbia / St. Joseph). The Warriors tied it, but seven straight by the Hounds pushed their lead to 20-13 midway through the period.
- A 9-2 run by Merrimack pulled the score even 22-2 with 6:41 remaining and the visitors took at 26-25 with 3:02 left. The teams traded baskets over the final three minutes of the half, and a Jordan Shea (Madison, Wisc. / Lodi) jumper provided a slight 35-34 lead at the break.
- The Warrior scored the first four points of the second to take a 38-35 lead. Vujadinovic answered with a triple to and a 5-0 run eventually gave Assumption a 47-42 advantage with 14:58 remaining. The teams traded baskets over next five minutes with a Nick Pasquale (Shrewsbury, Mass. / Worcester Academy) layup providing the Hounds a 55-52 lead.
- Merrimack tied the game up at 55 apiece and again at 58-58 at 5:45. The teams continued to trade baskets and were tied until six straight gave the Warriors a 68-62 lead with just 1:16 left. Patrick Fleming (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. / Iona Prep) connected on a three from the corner to cut the deficit to just 68-65, but Assumption missed its final two shots as Merrimack held on for the 71-65 win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Merrimack shot 49.1 percent from the floor and was 10 of 20 from beyond the arc while Assumption made 42.6 percent of its field goals and connected of 10 of 27 triples. Both teams grabbed 25 rebounds while the Hounds dished off 18 assists.
- Matthew Kelly (North Potomac, Md. / Quince Orchard) paced the offense with 13 points and four assists while Vujadinovic joined him in double figures with 11 points. Joe Sullivan (Utica, N.Y. / Notre Dame) had a solid game with eight points, eight rebounds and three assists.
- Bryan Boehlert (Gaithersburg, Md. / Magruder) posted career-highs of 12 points and six rebounds off the bench while Fleming totaled six points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.
- Ryan Boulter led Merrimack with 20 points on 6 of 8 shooting from downtown while Juvaris Hayes nearly had a triple double with 18 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
- Assumption returns to action on Saturday when the team travels to play Saint Anselm on Saturday at 3:30 pm.