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November 20, 2013

Merrimack men rally in thriller, stay perfect

EASTON — Merrimack sophomore Gelvis Solanhelped lead the Merrimack College men’s basketball team to a huge come-from-behind victory on the road last night at Stonehill College.

The Warriors (4-0) trailed 14 points and came all the way back shooting 61.1 percent in the second half to take a 83-77 victory over the Skyhawks.

Only three players reached double figures for the visitors, led by Solano, who paced the Warriors with a 29–point, 5-assist performance on a 9-of-17 clip from the field. Fellow starters Kevin Regan and sophomore JT Strickland also hit double-digits with 15 and 18 points, respectively.

Trailing handily, the Navy and Gold managed to go on an 11-2 run midway through the second half, cutting the gap to nine (46-37) with 14:53 to play in regulation. With 12 minutes to play, Solano cut the gap to eight (52-44) after a made 3-pointer. After a good 3-pointer from Solano, the Warriors managed to cut the lead to five (59-54) with 8:45 left to play. This is the first time since the 2008-09 season, that the Warriors have opened up the campaign 4-0. In every win this year, the Warriors managed a come-from-behind victory.

“We got another solid team win today against a good, solid team,” said head coach Bert Hammel. “We came out slow in the first half and were unable to get our offense going, but we managed to get it together during the second half and play Merrimack basketball.”

Hammel is now just 10 wins shy of joining the coaching 500-win club. Hammel has a career record of 490-450.Merrimack women fall short

The Merrimack women’s basketball team fought valiantly, but No. 7 Stonehill managed to pull away early in the second half, as the Warriors suffered their first conference defeat, 86-74 last night.

Both teams battled back and fourth over the course of the first stanza, as the Warriors went into the break trailing by eight, 37-29. The theme continued in the opening minutes of the second half, as Merrimack continued to keep pace with the Skyhawks, but Stonehill gradually pulled away. Stonehill’s strengths came from dominating the battle on the glass as the hosts held a 40-33 edge in rebounding. The Skyhawks (4-1) also shot 29-of-58 from the floor, compared to 28-of-68 for the Warriors (1-1). Just two Warriors finished in double figures, as junior Chloe Rothman led the visitors with 14 points.

The only other Merrimack player to reach double-digits was senior Shelby Secor with 10 points.

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