BROOKLYN — Merrimack College’s men’s basketball team relied on a stifling defense to surge past St. Francis, 60-50, Thursday night.

Trailing 34-30 at halftime, the Warriors (17-9) allowed just 16 points in the second half on their way to their 17th victory while retaining first place in the Northeast Conference.

Merrimack used a balance offense — its most balanced of the season — in the victory as five different players reached double figures.

Devin Jenson led with 14 points, followed by Mikey Watkins (11), Jaleel Lord (11), Juvaris Hayes (10) and Jordan Minor (10). Hayes also had 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals.

While relying on its defense, Merrimack was at its best downs the stretch, outscoring St. Francis 12-3 in the closing minutes.

The Warriors will be back in action Saturday against Wagner at home starting at 4 p.m.

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