NORTH ANDOVER — Trailing by 11 points at halftime and nine points with 6:03 to play, the Merrimack College men’s basketball team rallied for a thrilling 75-71 victory over the defending Northeast-10 champions Southern New Hampshire University last night.
Southern New Hampshire brought a 33-21 advantage into the locker room. But that advantage went by the wayside in the second half, as the Warriors capitalized on 19 Southern New Hampshire turnovers and shot a red-hot 57.1 percent (16-28) from the field in the final 20 minutes to storm back in commanding fashion.
Down 65-56 with 6:03 to play, baskets by sophomore Troy Hammel and sophomore Anthony Barry cut the gap to five. Southern NH then hit a free throw to up its lead to six before Gelvis Solano had back to back steals and conversions to cut the gap to two.
With 3:02 to play, Solano nailed down a 3-pointer and Merrimack had its first lead since midway through the first half. An old fashioned 3-pointer gave SNHU a two-point lead before Solano nailed down another 3-pointer to give Merrimack a 70-69 lead with 2:35 to play. Merrimack never lost the lead after that and finished the game on an 8-2 run.
Solano led the Warriors with 30 points, just two points shy of his career-high of 32. Classmate Hammel added 13 points and three rebounds, while senior Kevin Regan chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds. Barry led all players with nine rebounds.