NORTH ANDOVER, MA- The Merrimack men's basketball team defeated UMass Lowell for the first time since March 13, 2010, claiming a 74-57 victory Saturday afternoon at Bert Hammel Court. The Warriors improve to 13-10 overall and 10-9 in the Northeast-10 Conference. The River Hawks sink to 16-7 on the year and 12-7 in league play.
Aaron Strothers (Wareham, MA) and Roland Davis (Deer Park, NY) each netted 17 points on the afternoon to lead Merrimack. Strothers added 11 rebounds to register his fourth double-double of the season. Mike Clifford (Danvers, MA) finished with 14 points and 12 boards to record his team-leading seventh double-double of the year. Wayne Mack (Paterson, NJ) tallied 13 points in the win and picked up five steals. Tyler Young (Brooklyn, NY) contributed seven points coming off the bench.
With the victory, Merrimack remains in a tie for seventh-place in the conference standings with New Haven.
Merrimack grabbed an early 16-12 after seven minutes of action in the opening half.
With 9:15 on the clock, the River Hawks knotted the game at 21-21 on a triple by Akeem Williams.
The Warriors opened up an 18-0 run spanning 8:15.
During the stretch, Mack nailed a three-pointer to extend the Warrior' edge to 11 with five minutes on the clock in the opening stanza, 32-21.
Davis drained his third trey of the game with 2:41 left to play in the first half to push the margin to 37-21.
The Warriors sported a 41-23 advantage at the break while outrebounding Lowell 31-17. Merrimack pulled down 14 offensive boards in the first frame and shot 39.4% from the floor. The River Hawks owned a field-goal percentage of 26.5% heading into the second stanza.
Strothers paced Merrimack at the half with 13 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Davis poured in 11 points in the first 20 minutes of play while Clifford scored nine points and hauled in 11 boards.
Early in the second half, Davis set up Strothers with a fast-break alley-oop to give Merrimack a 22-point lead, 47-25. Davis lobbed a perfect pass to Strothers flying towards the hoop. The senior threw down a rim-rattling dunk to ignite the crowd.
Moments later, Clifford hammered home a two-handed dunk with 16 minutes remaining in the contest to restore Merrimack's lead to 21.
A lay-up by Young with 5:04 on the clock increased the home team's advantage to 24, the largest on the day
The Warriors finished the game with a field-goal percentage of 42.4% after connecting on 46.2% of their shots in the second frame. Despite shooting 54.2% from the floor in the second half, Lowell ended the game with a 37.9 field-goal percentage.
Merrimack converted 18 offensive boards into 20 second-chance points in the victory. The Warriors also scored 22 points off of turnovers by the River Hawks. The hosts boasted a 34-18 gap in points scored in the paint.
On the glass, the Warriors hauled in 44 rebounds while Lowell grabbed 33 in the game.
"I thought we did a great job on both ends of the court from the start of the game," said head coach Bert Hammel. "We played solid defensively and we did well rebounding today while playing with discipline and patience."
Merrimack will host Saint Michael's February 14 at 7:30 pm. The Warriors will look to claim the season-series against the Purple Knights after prevailing on the road earlier this year.