Merrimack claims Northeast title in 1st Division I season

NORTH ANDOVER, Ma. (AP) — Juvaris Hayes posted 19 points, seven rebounds and five steals and Merrimack beat Central Connecticut 69-58 on Thursday night to claim the Northeast Conference championship in its first Division I season.

Merrimack (20-11, 14-4) became the first school to win 20 games in its first Division I season, and Hayes extended his NCAA record to 453 career steals.

Devin Jensen had 18 points for Merrimack, which is ineligible for postseason play as it transitions to Division I. Jordan Minor added 11 points and eight rebounds, and Jaleel Lord also scored 11.

Myles Baker had 12 points and six rebounds for the Blue Devils (4-26, 3-14). Greg Outlaw added 10 points and seven rebounds. Jamir Reed had nine rebounds. Ian Krishnan, the Blue Devils’ leading scorer coming into the matchup at 10 points per game, scored just six points.

The Warriors improve to 2-0 against the Blue Devils for the season, defeating CCSU 58-46 on Jan. 11. CCSU finishes out the regular season against St. Francis (N.Y.) at home on Saturday.