Merrimack at Cincinnati Preview

The Bearcats (8-2) will try to rebound from their second loss of the season when Merrimack (5-6) visits Fifth Third Arena for a Tuesday night 7:00 pm tip off.

Coming off an 82-68 loss to Dayton, Cincinnati is still searching for an identity at both ends of the floor after having a mixed bag of results in their two toughest non conference games. 

Merrimack, picked to finish fourth in the Northeast Conference preseason poll, enters Tuesday night's game looking for just their second road win of the season. The Warriors are 3-0 at home but 1-5 away from Hamel Court in North Andover, Mass.

Key Stats and Notes:

UC remains 17th nationally with 9.6 turnovers pg, and 10th for assist-turnover ratio (1.74). Merrimack is currently averaging 13.3 turnovers per game, which ranks 294th. 

- Following the loss to Dayton, UC fell to 37th in the Kenpom rankings. Merrimack is currently 262.

- The Warriors rank 131st in adjusted defense but 332nd in adjusted offense. Merrimack has struggled from 3-point range, shooting just 26.4 percent for the year.

- Cincinnati ranks 8th nationally in total rebounds per game, while Merrimack is 279th.

Players to know:

6'5 Sophomore G Jordan Derkack ( 16.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.9 apg)

Derkack leads Merrimack in scoring, despite shooting just 15% from 3-point range to start the season. His strength has been getting to the rim and converting at the free throw line, as he leads the team with 71 attempts. He had 22 points against Georgetown and 14 against Florida. 

5'10 Freshman G Adam Clark ( 12.4 ppg, 3.4 apg, 2.2 rpg , 48% FG)

Clark is not a guy that is going to beat you from deep or someone you have to worry about beyond the arc. Through 11 games, he is 0-for-11. His strength is getting to the rim and scoring off the bounce.

6'4 Junior G Devon Savage ( 11 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 35.5 FG% ) 

At 31.7% , Savage has been the most consistent three point threat, while also taking the most attempts (82). Savage scored a season high 20 points in Merrimack's loss to Ohio State, while knocking down 6-of-9 attempts from 3-point range.

Not a guy that gets to the free throw line often, but converts at an 85% clip.

6'7 Senior F Samba Diallo ( 10 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 45.6%  FG, 33% 3FG)

Diallo leads the team in free-throw percentage (87%) and has attempted at least one 3-pointer in each game this season. Against other high major opponents Georgetown (9 pts, 6 rbs) and Florida ( 14 pts, 6 rbs), he was able to get to the line and went a perfect 10-for-10 between the two games. 

6'7 Sophomore F Bryan Etunmu ( 7.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 62 % FG , 25 % 3FG)

Etunmu has been extremely efficient from the field this season but has struggled from the free throw line, making just 7-of-15 attempts. He has been their best rim protector with 24 blocks.

6'2 Junior G Jaylen Stinson ( 6.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2 apg, 38.7 % FG)

Stinson has struggled to take care of the ball with 22 assists but 23 turnovers. 

7'0 Senior F Jacob O'Connell ( 4.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 42.9 % FG)

Final Thoughts:

Cincinnati has been good at home and have converted at a much higher clip from outside when playing in front of the home crowd. With Merrimack not having much size in the interior, there is going to be an advantage in the paint for Vik Lakhin, Aziz Bandaogo, and Jamille Reynolds to attempt to exploit. 


This is a game that shouldn't be close but there is still a lot for this team to work on before conference play starts. It will be interesting to see the different lineups that Wes rolls out to continue to try to develop an identity at both ends. Simas Lukosius has been the best distributor through 10 games. Wes mentioned in the post game after Dayton that they need to get more ball handling and play making on the court. Will there be lineup changes to shake things up after struggling with shooting and defense against the two best opponents in the non-conference schedule? 


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published