Providence snaps 2-game skid in outlasting pesky Merrimack

Providence College Friars  coach Ed Cooley questioning a  ref over a call in the first half.  Providence College Friars host the Butler Bulldogs in men's basketball at the Dunkin Donut  Center on Jan 23, 2022.  [The Providence Journal / Kris Craig]   ORG XMIT: 00042492A

Ed Croswell scored 17 points to lead four double-figure scorers as Providence pulled past visiting Merrimack 71-57 on Wednesday night in Rhode Island’s capital city.

Croswell was 7-for-10 from the field and scored 10 first-half points to help the Friars (4-2) curb their first two-game losing skid since February 2021.

Noah Locke scored 14 points, Bryce Hopkins added 13 and Devin Carter recorded his first double-double of the season with 12 and 10 rebounds.

The Friars shot 48.3 percent from the floor despite making just three 3-pointers.

Merrimack hung tough, but a late 9-3 run helped Providence strengthen its lead. Jared Bynum’s 3-pointer with 5:01 to play punctuated the Friars’ 4-for-5 stretch from the floor.

Croswell scored a 3-point play with 2:19 left before Carter’s putback in the final minute clinched the win.

Ziggy Reid scored a game-high 21 points on 7-for-14 shooting and three triples for Merrimack (1-5), the Northeast Conference preseason favorites. Jordan Derkack grabbed 10 rebounds.

Javon Bennett (11 points) and Mykel Derring (eight points) each hit two of the Warriors’ 10 total treys.

The Friars responded to Derring’s opening 3-pointer for Merrimack with five players scoring during a 10-0 run over just 2:25. A Hopkins turnaround capped the streak at the 15:10 marker.

Providence started 6 of 11 from the field and led 12-7 at the under-12 timeout. A 10-4 spurt extended its advantage to 25-14.

Devon Savage’s triple highlighted a 7-0 response from the Warriors, who cut their deficit to 25-21 with 3:53 left in the half.

Croswell hit back-to-back baskets to fuel another 10-0 Friars run before Merrimack hit six of its final eight field goals to cut the score to 37-26 at halftime.

The Friars’ advantage remained 11 at seven minutes into the second half, though Merrimack had hit four straight field goals — including 3-pointers by Jaylen Stinson and Reid — following the break to make it 42-36. Two Carter dunks during a 7-2 stretch increased the hosts’ lead back to 49-38.

Moore dropped in a pair of important shots off the bench to help cushion the Friars’ lead, then Merrimack used a 7-2 run to climb within 55-48. Reid’s second triple with 8:17 to go closed the gap.

–Field Level Media

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