Moore Field House was flying with joy as Greg Langston hit a game-winning runner with 2.9 remaining to lead Southern Connecticut State University men’s basketball team to a 68-66 win over Merrimack College on Tuesday, Jan. 25 in a Northeast-10 Conference game.
Southern’s scoring was led by three players: Trevon Hamlet, Andrew Zito and Greg Langston. Hamlet scored Southern’s first seven points of the game, and 17 points in the half. Langston had nine points, while Zito had six with two assists and two steals.
Southern took a 24-19 lead, the biggest lead of the half, when Langston hit a three from the top of the key that bounced off the rim, and went in.
Merrimack tried to take the lead with 3:30 left after Dexton Williamson missed a dunk, but Darin Mency turned the ball over with an offensive foul.
Southern scored twice to end the half, leading 32-27. Langston scored a two, off of his own miss, and Hamlet dunked a two.
In the second half, Merrimack came within one early when Juan Carlos Rosich scored a two inside, making it 38-37.
“We knew that the month of January was going to be tough on our schedule,” said Southern head coach Michael Donnelly. “I felt a lot of stretches that we were able to get stops. I think we got lazy and a little tired, and they gained confidence.”
Southern went on a 15-4 run to lead 55-41 with 9:13 left, capped off by a McCarter bucket, driving in from the left side. Mency scored a three-pointer on the next possession, but Southern answered with a two by Hamlet, taking the lead to 57-44.
“My assignment was to guard number 32 (Mency) because he is one of the best in the conference, and limit him to no easy shots,” said McCarter.
Merrimack applied pressure late, cutting the lead to 64-62 with 2:03 left. Merrimack tied the game at 64 when Strothers scored on a lay-up, assisted from Kevin Regan with 1:28 left.
McCarter hit a two off the backboard, going to the floor, and drawing the foul. McCarter missed the free-throw, keeping the lead 66-64 with 1:13 left.
Southern led 66-65 after Strothers made one free-throw with 54.5 left, on a Langston foul.
McCarter missed on the next possession. Merrimack called timeout. Mency drove to the hoop, in traffic, drawing the foul with 2.9 left.
Mency missed the first free-throw. Southern called timeout. Mency made the second. Off an in-bounds pass from Kiernan Ramsey, Langston ran towards the right side, and hit the running jumper at the buzzer.
“Well, it was a double screen and Kiernan (Ramsey) made a good pass.” said Langston. “I had a lot of room, I just threw it up and it went in.”
Merrimack was 7-11 from the free-throw line in the second half. Southern was 13-15.
Mency led Merrimack with 26 points and seven rebounds. Tyler Young had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Strothers added nine points.
Hamlet led Southern with 26 points and four rebounds. Langston had 15 points and five assists. McCarter had 11 points, all in the second half, five rebounds and four assists.
Donnelly said he credited the crowd in the win, and that this was a quick step for the program. “It was good to show the crowd the program is changing, and that this is a continuation of building the program,” said Donnelly.
Southern’s was 10-8 overall, 7-7 in the Northeast-10 Conference, snapping a two game losing streak. Merrimack was 9-8, and 5-8, continuing a five game losing streak.
Langston winner at buzzer leads Owls past Merrimack