KINGS POINT, N.Y. – In a back and forth game that saw two lead changes and five ties, it was the United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners that came out on top, 85-77 over the Goucher Gophers on Saturday, snapping a six-game losing streak. The Mariners improve to 2-5 in Landmark Conference play and 7-11 overall, while the Gophers fall to 0-7 in Conference play and 3-14 overall.
The five ties and two lead changes that occurred during the game, all took place in the first half of play. The Mariners jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a jumper and free-throw by sophomore Jeffrey Mark, but the Gophers quickly tied it back up with a jumper and free-throw both by senior Marcus Cotton. The Mariners answered back with a layup from sophomore Michael Farace, and the Gophers again tied the score on a layup from sophomore Manney Wood. The Gophers then took a six-point lead, their largest margin of the day, thanks to a dunk by Cotton, and two jumpers from Wood.
With 14:03 remaining in the half, the Mariners fought their way back and pulled within one of the Gophers with 10:14 left in the half. Sophomore Reed Buck put up a jumper and senior Kevin Kerr knocked down two free throws to give the Mariners a 19-16 lead. Farace, Kerr, and Buck all finished the first half with 10 points each, allowing the Mariners to jump out to an 11-point first half lead, a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
In the second half, with 9:08 remaining, the Gophers started to chip away at the Mariners lead, going on an 8-0 run highlighted by two three-pointers by freshman Alex Noble, but Goucher still trailed by five. With 1:10 left to play, Gopher junior Trae Lindsay knocked down two shots from the free-throw line to cut the Mariner lead to four. That was the closest the Mariners would come to giving back the lead however as Farace put up two free- throw shots, followed by two free- throws made by Frank Wisely, and two more from the line by Farace. The Mariners closed out the game 85-77 over the Gophers.
Michael Farace led the Mariners with 17 points and was 7-8 from the free-throw line. Kevin Kerr added 15 points on 5-10 shooting and 3-7 from three-point range.
Alex Noble led the scoring for the Gophers with 18 points and was a perfect 6-6 from the free-throw line. Marcus Cotton also had a solid outing, adding 16 points and 5 rebounds.
Next up for the United States Merchant Marine Academy will be a home contest against Susquehanna University on January 27 at 7:30 p.m.