SCRANTON, Pa. – Faced with a 34-33 halftime deficit, Scranton University shot 56% in the second half in route to defeating the United States Merchant Marine Academy 67-55 in a Landmark Conference contest. Scranton improved to a perfect 5-0 in Landmark play and 12-4 overall, while the Mariners fell to 1-4, and 6-10 overall, dropping their fifth straight contest.
The first half of play saw seven lead changes and four ties in a very evenly played 20 minutes. Neither team led by more than five, and saw both teams have very balanced scoring throughout the period with no first half scorer having more than eight. The Royals and Mariners were back and forth in the first few minutes, as Reed Buck connected on his first two attempts, including one of them from deep to tie the game at 5-5.
It took the Mariners nearly four minutes to have their next field goal but it was the Kings Point bench that gave the road team a spark. The Mariners reserves would score eight of the next ten points to keep the deficit within two before a Travis Farrell triple for the Royals would give Scranton a 20-15 lead with 7:53 before halftime. The deficit was still five with 3:19 to play, when senior Kevin Kerr knocked down back-to-back jumpers including a three-pointer to tie the game at 29-29. Under a minute to play in the half after a Luke Hawk layup for Scranton, Pat Farrell knocked down a trifecta off a Kerr assist as the Mariners took a one point lead into the break.
Scranton would score the first five points of the second half on a three-pointer from freshman Ross Danzig and a fast break layup from Tommy Morgan before Mariners Coach Danny Nee called a quick timeout. After a Reed Buck layup and back-to-back layups from Scranton's Nick Jaskula and Morgan once again, USMMA would go on a 7-0 run that included four points from Jeffrey Mark, leading to a 43-42 Mariners lead, and a Scranton timeout.
That would prove to be a pivotal point in the contest as Scranton took control of the game from there, going on a 9-0 to go up 51-43 with 10:08 to play. After a layup from Buck, the Royals would go on another run, this time a 12-4 spurt over the next five minutes to extend their lead to 63-49. The deficit would get no closer than 11 for the Mariners despite a three-point play from Jeffrey Mark and another Kerr triple to finish the contest.
Reed Buck led the Mariners with 14 points on 6-13 shooting and 2-3 from three-point range. Senior Kevin Kerr added 10 off the bench, and Jeffrey Mark added nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.
For the Royals, three players were in double figures including freshman Ross Danzig with a game-high 16 points, and guards Travis Farrell and Tommy Morgan adding 15 and 13 respectively. Both teams shot an identical 43.6% from the floor but the Royals had a decided advantage on the glass, outrebounding the Mariners 39-to-27 including 15 offensive rebounds. Scranton also got to the line 14 times, converting 11-14 from the charity stripe, while USMMA would get just four attempts, going only 2-4.
The Merchant Marine Academy will play their next four games at home, beginning with a Landmark Conference contest against the Catholic University Cardinals on Friday evening with tip-time set for 5:30pm.