Merlo scores 16 in road win

Andrew Merlo (c) 2013 David Sinclair/McDaniel College
Andrew Merlo (c) 2013 David Sinclair/McDaniel College

SWARTHMORE, Pa. – McDaniel built a nine-point lead in the first half en route to a 63-57 Centennial Conference (CC) men's basketball victory at Swarthmore on Tuesday.

Andrew Merlo (Rehoboth, Del./Cape Henlopen) reached double digits for the fourth time in four games in 2014, leading the Green Terror (10-4, 5-2 CC) with 16 points. Tim Stewart (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) added 12 points and seven rebounds while Evan Pupelis (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) chipped in 10 points.

Joe Keedy led the Garnet (5-9, 2-5 CC) with 17 points and six rebounds while Chris Bourne added 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

After a Jay Kober layup gave Swarthmore a momentary 45-44 lead with 10:54 to play, Anthony Morgan (York, Pa./New Hope Academy Charter) responded with a putback 26 seconds later to give McDaniel the lead for the duration.

Two Merlo free throws on the next possession stretched the advantage to three before Phillip Perry (Crownsville, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) responded to a Bourne layup with a three-point play to push the lead to 51-47 with 7:49 on the clock.

Stewart converted on the break to make it a six-point lead before Shane Loeffler sliced the deficit in half with 6:51 showing.

Clinging to a 57-54 lead, Pupelis added a layup before Merlo hit the first of two free throw to reclaim the six-point advantage with 2:04 to play.

Keedy once again hit a triple to slice the lead in half but Merlo and Wesley Brooks (North Wales, Pa./North Penn) combined to go 3-for-4 from the stripe in the final 23 seconds and seal the win.

The Garnet jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the game's first 4:01 before a Perry free throw and Stewart juper closed the deficit to two.

Bourne and Brooks traded layups before Merlo hit the second of two free-throw attempts to make it a 10-9 game with 13:12 showing in the first half.

Trailing by three, Jimmy Cranwell (Brick, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven) hit a layup and Merlo canned two free throws to spark an 11-0 run over a 2-minute, 44-second span.

Merlo capped the burst with a 3-pointer, giving the Green Terror a 20-12 lead with 9:44 showing.

A Stewart layup stretched the lead to its largest at 24-15 with 7:26 showing. The lead fluctuated between five and nine points for the remainder of the first half before McDaniel took a 32-25 advantage into the locker room.

Keyed by a Keedy 3-pointer, Swarthmore scored the first six points of the second half before Perry pushed the lead back to three with 17:39 remaining.

A Kober 3-pointer tied the game but Stewart and Cameron Royster (Derwood, Md./Magruder) each converted layups to push the lead back to four.

The Green Terror returns to action at Franklin & Marshall on Saturday. Game time is 3 p.m.