SALINA, Kan. — Laurence Merritt picked the right time to have his career-best game.
The 5-foot-10 junior from Chicago scored 25 points to lead Midland University to a 77-72 win over Kansas Wesleyan on Saturday. The win evens the Warriors’ record at 1-1.
Merritt came off the bench to spark the Warriors, including a five-for-five performance from 3-point land. His previous career high was 13 points.
“We were really proud of the way our guys competed in all phases tonight against a really good and athletic team on the road,” Midland coach Oliver Drake said. “Kansas Wesleyan is a really good team and we couldn’t be prouder of the toughness we showed on the glass. We turned the ball over way too much (16 times) but we are a work in progress. We made plays when we need them against a national-level team on the road. This was a big time road win for our group.”
James Brooks of the Coyotes drained a 3-point basket with 5:02 left to give Wesleyan a 66-63 lead. After Kylan Smallwood of the Warriors connected on a field goal to make it a one-point game, Merritt took over.
Merritt connected on three consecutive 3-point field goals to boost the Warriors to a 74-71 lead with 2:18 left. KWU closed to 74-72 on an AJ Range free throw with 1:52 remaining, but that was the final point for the Coyotes. Sam Mailloux hit one free throw and Merritt added two more to secure the win.
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The Warriors shot 50 percent (27-for-54) from the field and outrebounded the Coyotes 42-27 en route to the victory.
The Warriors, who led 33-32 at halftime, also got 15 points from sophomore Bowen Sandquist, including a trio of 3-point baskets. Fremont native Ryan Williams added 14 points while Smallwood (12 points and 12 rebounds) and Jacob Lenagh (10 points and 10 rebounds) recorded double-doubles.
Midland play at 7 Wednesday night in Madison, South Dakota, against Dakota State.
Midland — Laurence Merritt 25, Bowen Sandquist 15, Ryan Williams 14, Kylan Smallwood 12, Sam Mailloux 1, Jacob Lenagh 10.
Kansas Wesleyan — James Brooks 23, AJ Range 10, Darius Hammond 10, Peyton Hatter 7, Marquis Kraemer 7, Brayden White 5, D. Gross 4, Brendon Ganaway 3, Zay Wilson 3.