RINDGE, N.H. (December 5, 2017) – Four of five starters turned in double-digit scoring performances once again including a double-double effort from senior forward Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, N.J.), but the Merrimack College Warriors hung on to a 60-59 win in Northeast-10 Conference play at The Fieldhouse Tuesday night. With the win, the Warriors charge ahead to 7-3 overall and 4-1 NE10 while the Ravens drop to 3-5, 1-5 NE10.
Lackey notched a game-best 15 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat. He also dished out three assists and half of his boards came on the offensive end. Classmate Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.) dropped 12 points, five boards, and two assists. Doyin Fadojutimi (Temple Hills, Md.) tallied 11 points and matched his career-high with four steals. Team captain Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points and six caroms. Falu Seck (Washington, D.C.) chipped in five points, seven caroms, and seven helpers.
Seck and the Ravens defensive unit did a good job in containing Merrimack's Preseason All-American sophomore guard Juvaris Hayes. He recorded his fourth-lowest point total of the campaign (15 points) and turned the rock over a season-high seven times. Freshman guard Khalief Crawford came off the bench and added 13 points and two boards.
Franklin Pierce held the edge in points in the post (32-to-28) and offensive rebounds (15-to-5) which led to 16 points on second chances. FPU also shot well from the charity stripe (14-of-17, 82.4%). The largest lead by either team was seven points and the advantage changed seven times throughout the contest.
At the 14:36 mark in the first stanza, Merrimack led 12-5 following a three-ball by Crawford. A few minutes later, Lackey spun through the lane for a layup off an Amanie Craddock (Spring Valley, N.Y.) feed as FPU trailed by two, 14-12. With the Ravens behind by four, freshman forward Devonte McCall (Amherst, Mass.) cleaned up a miss from Fadojutimi and put the ball back off the glass and in for the potential three-point play. McCall, however, missed the freebie, but the Ravens were within two, 18-16.
Hayes brought the ball up the court and was promptly pickpocketed by Fadojutimi, which led to a fast break two to tie the duel. The Merrimack edge hovered around one and two possessions for the remainder of the half until Lackey was awarded two free throws with one second on the clock to tie the contest 30-30 at the intermission.
Sandiford gave the Ravens the early lead to begin the second half with a layup. Hayes responded with six straight points, which started with a theft of Seck to move the guests back in front 38-34. Franklin Pierce answered back with a 14-4 scoring binge that began with a McDevitt baseline jumper as the shot clock was winding down and concluded with a Lackey layup and a six-point, 48-42 Raven lead. Fadojutimi gave FPU their largest lead, 51-44 by burying three attempts from the charity stripe.
With four minutes to play, Crawford was left wide open in the left corner as he corralled a Hayes pass and knocked down a long-range connection to tie the duel at 54 all. A minute and a half later, Merrimack regained the lead as Idris Joyner caught the Ravens in a switch and drove the ball to the rack for an easy two. On the next Raven possession Seck, who was 1-of-7 from the floor, drained a huge three-pointer to reestablish the lead for Pierce at 57-56. Joyner took a trip to the line and made both free throws to move his squad ahead once again. Following Joyner's makes, McDevitt sunk a catch and shoot mid-range baseline jumper from Sandiford to push FPU back ahead, 59-58 with 1:18 left to play. Sandiford put his body on the line during a clutch moment in the game as he took a charge from a driving Hayes that gave the rock back to the hosts. Hayes responded by collecting the ball off an errant pass, running down the right side of the floor and taking the ball coast to coast for a contested lay-in to push Mack back in the driver's seat. Franklin Pierce had one last shot, but Sandiford missed his layup attempt as the Ravens lost by one.
The Ravens are away from campus for their next three games starting Sunday, December 10 at Assumption with tip-off slated for 3:30 p.m.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens ), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce men's basketball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).