SYRACUSE, N.Y. – After top-seeded Le Moyne College forced overtime on Saturday evening in the quarterfinals of the Division II NCAA East Regional, the Merrimack College men's basketball team rallied in the extra five minutes to record a 72-68 victory and upset the Dolphins. Freshman point guard Juvaris Hayes (Paterson, N.J.) recorded 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals over 44 minutes of action as the program will now play tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. in the regional semifinals against either Saint Anselm or Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Score: Merrimack 72, Le Moyne 68
Records: #8 Merrimack (19-11) | #1 Le Moyne (22-7)
Location: Ted Grant Court | Syracuse, N.Y.
The Turning Point:
The Dolphins forced overtime on a triple form Stan Buczek with eight seconds remaining in regulation, tying the score at 63-all. In overtime, sophomore Ryan Boulter (Mansfield, Mass.) started the scoring with a 3-pointer to make it a 66-65 game in favor of Merrimack. The Warriors never trailed after that, with a put-back from sophomore Troy McLaughlin (Old Tappan, N.J.) with 36 seconds left extending the lead to three, 70-67.
NCAA East Regional Schedule
Saturday, March 11 - Quarterfinals
Game #1: No. 3 Saint Rose def. No. 6 Bloomfield, 94-58
Game #2: No. 7 Southern Connecticut def. No. 2 Southern New Hampshire, 109-98
Game #3: No. 8 Merrimack def. No. 1 Le Moyne, 72-68
Game #4: No. 4 Saint Anselm vs. No. 5 Saint Thomas Aquinas - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 12 - Semifinals
Game #5: No. 3 Saint Rose vs. No. 7 Southern Connecticut - 5 p.m.
Game #6: Winner Game #4 vs. No. 8 Merrimack College - 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 14 - Championship
Game #7: Winner Game #5 vs. Winner Game #6 - 7 p.m.
How It Happened (First Half)
- Hayes and the Merrimack defense highlighted the first 10 minutes of the game, staking the Warriors to a 13-11 lead. Hayes scored five points and assisted on two more buckets, including a fast-break layup that broke an 11-11 deadlock. The dolphins responded with an 8-0 run to make it a 19-13 game with seven minutes remaining in the half
- Le Moyne's run extended to 10 unanswered points before Hayes' second triple of the opening stanza halted the stretch, making it a 21-16 game. After cutting the deficit down to five, a baseline jumper from Stan Buczek put the hosts in front, 25-18, with under three minutes to play
- From there, the Warriors collected five straight points to make it a one-possession game with one minute remaining. Boulter hit two free throws and Hayes sank a straightaway 3-pointer for his third trey of the half to pull the Warriors within two, 25-23. Senior Riley Calzonetti (Neptune City, N.J.) hit a turnaround jumper for Merrimack's final two points of the half as the Dolphins took a 29-25 lead to the locker room
How It Happened (Second Half)
- Merrimack started the second half on a 10-2 run that featured a 3-pointer from Boulter and a three-point play from redshirt-junior Tawayne Anderson Jr. (Garden City, N.Y.) to give the Navy and Gold a 35-31 lead at the under-16 timeout. After a layup from graduate forward Anthony Barry (Uxbridge, Mass.), the Dolphins scored five straight to make it a one-point game, 37-36
- The Dolphins' stretch extended to a 10-4 surge following a top-of-the-key trey from Tanner Hyland, which tied the game at 41-all with 13 minutes remaining. Three minutes later and facing a two-point deficit, Le Moyne scored five straight to snatch the lead back, but a Boulter trey tied the game at 46-all as the clock dipped to under 10 minutes to play
- Following four straight points from Isaiah Eisendorf gave the Dolphins a 51-50 lead, but with the shot clock winding down McLaughlin hit a contested triple to put the Warriors in front with 5:40 remaining. Facing a one-deficit two possessions later, Hayes collected a steal and went the distance to give the Warriors a 55-54 advantage at the 4:41 mark
- At the 1:11 mark and trailing by one, Barry crashed the offensive glass to put the Warriors ahead, 59-58. A pair of free throws from Boulter increased the lead to three with 17 seconds, but Hyland found Buczek in the corner to tie the game. Hayes' 18-footer fell short as the buzzer sounded, ushering on the overtime.
Inside The Numbers
- The contest featured 19 lead changes and was tied on eight occasions as the two Northeast-10 Conference rivals went toe-to-toe in Syracuse. The Warriors' victory marked the program's first on the road in nearly six weeks, when the Navy and Gold knocked off Saint Michael's to begin February
- Playing in the program's ninth NCAA Tournament, the Warriors picked up their seventh NCAA win. The Warriors advance to the regional semifinals with a chance to reach the school's first-ever regional final
- Hayes led the Warriors in scoring (21), assists (7) and steals (4), marking his seventh 20-point game of the season. He finished 8-of-14 from the floor, and tied a season high with his trio of 3-pointers
- Boulter came on strong after starting the game cold from the field. The all-league third-team selection finished the night with 20 points and nine rebounds, nearly collecting his first-ever double-double. He was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line, as well
- Defensively, the Warriors held an opponent to below 80 points for the 16th time this season. The Navy and Gold are 16-0 in those games
- After not scoring in the first half, Barry picked up a crucial 12 points spanning the final 25 minutes, shooting 6-of-11 from the field
With the victory, the Warriors advanced to the regional semifinals where the Warriors will play the winner of Saturday's final quarterfinal matchup between fifth-seeded Saint Thomas Aquinas and fourth-seeded Saint Anselm.