Merlo explodes for 27 in victory

Andrew Merlo (c) 2013 David Sinclair/McDaniel College

WESTMINSTER, Md. – A late surge lifted McDaniel to a 79-73 victory over Lebanon Valley in non-conference men's basketball action on Sunday.

Andrew Merlo (Rehoboth, Del./Cape Henlopen) exploded for a career high-tying 27 points to lead the Green Terror (5-3), including matching his career best with six 3-pointers. Phillip Perry (Crownsville, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) added 12 points and six rebounds while Tim Stewart (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) and Wesley Brooks (North Wales, Pa./North Penn) added 10 points and six rebounds apiece.

Kevin Agnew led the Flying Dutchmen (1-6) with 37 points, hitting 15 of his 24 field-goal attempts and four of his seven 3-pointers.

Tied at 51-all on a Nate Dawson three-point play, Merlo canned his fifth triple to put McDaniel in front for good with 5:32 to play.

Merlo and Brooks each hit treys around an Agnew 3-pointer to make it a 65-60 game in favor of the Gren Terror with 2:13 on the clock.

The Brooks 3-pointer would be McDaniel's final field goal, however.

Perry and Brooks each hit a pair of free throws over the next 41 seconds to push the lead to its largest of the game at nine.

An Agnew three-point play closed the deficit to 69-63 with 1:25 remaining.

One free throw from Merlo with 48.6 seconds to play and from Duane Echols (Jessup, Md./Hammond) with 32.8 seconds showing around an Agnew slashing layup made it a 74-67 game.

Connor Pierce drained a 3-pointer with 20.4 seconds showing before Echols hit two more free throws and Perry converted the back end of two with 11.2 ticks showing.

Agnew capped his career night with a 3-pointer from the wing with 5.3 seconds showing before Merlo set the final margin, hitting two free throws with 4.4 ticks remaining.

Behind four points from Stewart, McDaniel jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the game's first two minutes.

Triples from Kevin Donahue and Luke Berguson around a Stewart jumper made it an 8-6 game with 16:56 remaining in the first half.

Two Merlo triples helped stretch the lead to 14-9 with 11:13 to play.

A Jimmy Cranwell (Brick, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven) steal-and-layup and Brooks 3-pointer stretched the lead 22-14.

After Agnew and Cranwell exchanged layups, the Dutchmen reeled of the game's next 10 points to take a 26-24 lead with 1:47 showing.

Stewart evened the game at 29-all at the break, hitting a layup just before the horn.

Brooks gave McDaniel a 31-29 edge 2:01 into the second half before Burke countered with a three-point play.

Layups from Stewart and Evan Pupelis (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) put the Green Terror back in front 35-32 with 15:11 showing.

A Cameron Royster (Derwood, Md./Magruder) layup through traffic stretched the lead to as many as six at 43-37 with 10:12 to play before Lebanon Valley eventually knotted the game once again at 46-all.

Brooks added four steals while Pupelis had four assists to go with his eight points and five rebounds. Perry chipped in three assists.

McDaniel finished the game with a decisive 36-23 advantage on the glass, including limiting the Dutchmen to three offensive boards while gathering 12 of its own.

The Green Terror returns to action against Misericordia at the Louis Fleming Basinger Memorial Tournament hosted by Lycoming on Monday, Dec. 30. Game time is 8 p.m.

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