The Mack Report

Warriors Push Past Pace With Second Half Run

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Solano1NORTH ANDOVER — Merrimack College erased a six-point second-half deficit en route to a 70-63 win over conference foe Pace on Tuesday night at Hammel Court. The win snapped a three-game skid for the Warriors.

In a game that featured 14 lead changes, the Warriors 51 percent shooting in the second half proved to be the difference, dominating the game in the paint.

“We played with a sense of urgency but did so by being under control for the whole game,” Merrimack head coach Bert Hammel told Merrimack Director of Basketball Relations Steve Palladino after the game.  “I thought that each kid played their role – and when we do, offensively and defensively, we are pretty good.

“We just have to execute with the discipline that we showed tonight,” said Hammel.  “Forget the scoreboard and the standings and play the next play.”

After Pace took a six-point lead early in the second half, Travonne Berry-Rodgers knocked down a key three that set the Warriors off on a 15-0 run, keeping the Setters scoreless for more than six minutes.

Merrimack returns to the court Saturday in Worcester, when they’ll meet second-place Assumption at 3:30.

The Leaders: Freshman Gelvis Solano turned in his best performance to date, leading the Warriors with 23 points, which was also a game high. The six-foot guard is averaging 13.8 points per game this season. Tyler Young led the team with 10 rebounds, tied for a game high, and J.T. Strickland led all players with four assists. Solano helped in a terrific defensive effort as well, snatching three steals in the second half during Pace’s scoreless skid.

The Breakdown: Merrimack limited Pace to just 37.0% shooting. The game was won in the paint, where the Warriors outscored Pace 44-30 and out-rebounded the Setters 39-35. Merrimack’s bench also outscored Pace’s 12-3.

Playoff Update: With eight games remaining, Le Moyne and Pace are tied for the 10th and final playoff spot, each with a 6-8 league record. Merrimack, Stonehill and Bentley are each one game back (5-9). The Warriors own the tiebreaker over Le Moyne, Paec and Stonehill. The Warriors still play Bentley and Stonehill, in games that could affect both tiebreakers.

The Highlights: