ALBANY, N.Y. – The Siena College men’s basketball team beat Niagara University by ten points Thursday night, and the best play of the game came from an unlikely star.
The play came during garbage time against the Purple Eagles and was made by Columbia High School graduate Jimmy Merrill.
The Saints were up nine points with 27 seconds left. As long as they made their free throws, they would be good.
A baseball pass was made to Marquis Wright. He knew the clock situation and instead of going to the basket, he pulled it out to waste more time until possibly getting fouled.
But last minute, he spots Merrill, and Merrill does the rest.
The first two points in the sophomore forward’s collegiate career was a dunk at the Times Union Center.
From every angle, the play is great, but it obviously means the most for the walk-on.
“Yeah, this is amazing,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed about dunking in a D-1 basketball game, so it was just a dream come true really.”
“Jimmy Merrill from Columbia High School – we call him Jimmy Tennis cause I thought he was a tennis player at my press conference, so we call him Jimmy Tennis,” head coach Jimmy Patsos said. “And I’ll tell you, in two years, like that was a real dunk. He’s coming around and doing all the work himself. He’s a good kid.”
“I was going to pull it out and just hold it and see if they would foul, but when I saw him, he was running too hard, and I had to throw it to him, and it was exciting,” Wright said. “It was an exciting moment for him to score.”
“It felt amazing,” Merrill said. “My parents and brother were here, so I’m just happy I could make them proud.”
The Saints take the court again on Sunday against Fairfield.