KINGS POINT, New York – On the strength of a 10-0 run to finish the game, the Trinity College Bantams defeated the United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners 68-66 in a non-conference tilt Tuesday afternoon. Despite three shot attempts to retake the lead in the last minute of regulation down by one, Kings Point failed to convert on two separate possessions, leading to the Trinity victory.
The first half was all Trinity, as the Bantams led from wire-to-wire in the first 20 minutes of play, with their high water mark being a lead of 15 at the 12:27 mark. Junior forward Mick DiStasio was the story of the half for the visitors, as he scored 15 points on perfect 4-4 shooting from both the field and the foul-line, in addition to 3-3 from deep.
Kings Point forward Zach Karczewski led the Mariners with nine first-half points, along with Reed Buck's seven. Despite being down by 12 at the half, the deficit could have been significantly worse had the Mariners not made their charity shots, going a solid 16-22 (72.7%) from the line in the opening stanza.
Like their last contest against the Wolverines from Wesley College, the Mariners quickly narrowed their halftime deficit, as Kings Point stormed back in the second 20 minutes. They took their first lead of the afternoon at 59-58 on a Patrick Farrell free-throw with 8:05 left. From there, the Academy would hold Trinity scoreless over the next nearly five minutes, culminating in a Kevin Kerr three-point-play to put the Mariners up eight.
That's when the Bantams went back to work, keeping the Mariners on defense for nearly a minute straight due to a team offensive-rebound on a DiStasio miss, and two fouls off the ball that resulted in extra possessions. Forward George Papadeas was fouled with 2:29 left, and knocked down the two free-throws, cutting the Kings Point lead to just six.
After a Mariners turnover, DiStasio was fouled on a three-point attempt and converted two of three from the stripe. An offensive foul on the ensuing possession for the Mariners led a clutch three from Trinity's Eric Dean in front of the visitors' bench, cutting the margin to just one with 1:35 to play. With the score still 66-65, Papadeas rebounded a Varun Ram miss with just over a minute to go, allowing the Bantams to retake the lead.
In the last minute, Buck, Kerr and Karczewski all had shots at the rim for the homestanding Mariners, but could not convert any of the attempts. Varun Ram was then fouled with 0.3 left on the clock and converted his first free-throw but missed the second intentionally, as Kings Point was not able to get another shot off before the horn sounded.
Mick DiStasio was the high man for Trinity, finishing with 19 points on 5-8 from the floor, and 6-7 from the line. Eric Dean and Varun Ram both chipped in with eight points each in the second half, finishing in double-figures with 13 and 11 points respectively.
For the Mariners, it was Reed Buck once again topping the score sheet with 18 points on 6-13 shooting. He also led all players with a game-high nine rebounds. Zach Karczewski added 12 points and six rebounds, and sophomore guard Michael Farace tallied 11.
Tuesday's game completes the non-conference portion of the Mariners schedule, as they fall to 6-6 on the season. Trinity College improves to 8-3.
USMMA will head on the road for four straight games, beginning with Landmark Conference foe Juniata on Saturday afternoon at 5:30 PM. They will then travel to Selinsgrove, PA on Sunday to face the Crusaders of Susquehanna University with a tip-time of 2:PM.