NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Senior Juan Cardenas (Apartado, Colombia) scored a career-high 26 points, but the Bryant University men's basketball team fell victim to a late Merrimack run in a 71-67 defeat Wednesday night.
Cardenas was 8-for-13 from the field and made four three-pointers while adding two blocks. Freshman Benson Lin (New Taipei City, Taiwan) matched his career-high with 19 points in the defeat.
Merrimack 71, Bryant 67
Records: Bryant (9-8, 1-3 NEC), Merrimack (10-8, 4-1 NEC)
Location: Hammel Court (North Andover, Mass.)
- Bryant jumped out to a nine-point first half lead and held a six-point advantage at the half.
- Merrimack chipped away to tie the game at 48 with 11:35 to play.
- Bryant regained a seven-point lead before Merrimack closed the game on a 21-10 run.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Lin scored five points in the opening two minutes to get Bryant out to a 7-2 lead.
- An 8-0 Bryant run with threes from Cardenas and Lin gave the Bulldogs an 18-14 advantage with 12 minutes remaining in the opening half.
- Six straight points from Cardenas broke a 25-all deadlock and put the Bulldogs in front by six with 4:44 to go in the opening half.
- Bryant led 36-30 at the half with 16 points each from Cardenas and Lin.
- The teams were tied at 48 before a key three from Lin kickstarted a 9-2 stretch for the Black & Gold to make the lead 57-50 with eight minutes to play.
- An 11-2 Merrimack run put the Warriors in front 61-59 with just under four minutes to play.
- The Merrimack lead would fluctuate between two and four the rest of the way with the Warriors going 11-for-17 from the free-throw line in the second half.
- Cardenas compiled 26 points, three rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal.
- Lin's 19 points came on 7-of-12 from the field. The freshman scored 16 of his 19 in the first half.
- Redshirt-junior Ikenna Ndugba (Boston, Mass.) matched his career-high with 11 rebounds and added nine points and five assists.
- Bryant shot 44.7% for the game, while Merrimack shot 46.4% for the game and 54.2% after halftime.
- Each team grabbed 30 rebounds.
- Bryant shot 80% from the free-throw line. Merrimack was 64.7% for the game with all 17 attempts coming after halftime.
- Cardenas scored 20 or more points for the first time as a Bulldog and surpassed a career-best 19 points in last February's win over Mount St. Mary's.
- Lin's career-high matched his 19 in the victory over Navy on Dec. 2.
- Grant moved within 58 points of Dyami Starks for second on Bryant's Division I scoring list.
- Bryant drops to 0-1 against Merrimack in the programs' Division I history.
- Wednesday was Bryant's ninth game this season decided by four points or less. The Bulldogs are 4-5 in those contests.
Bryant returns home for a Saturday meeting with Long Island. Get your TICKETS for the 4 p.m. tip with special Holiday Hoops pricing.
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