The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy men's basketball team (10-12, 5-6) triumphed over the Cardinals of Catholic University (16-6,6-5) 68-66 Saturday evening to extend their winning streak and inch closer to a Landmark Conference playoff spot.
Sophomore forward Reed buck led the Mariners in scoring with 15 and sophomore center Nick Sergio registered a double-double with 12 points and a game high 11 rebounds. Senior forward Denver Effland (pictured right) and senior guard Kevin Kerr also notched double figures with 13 points apiece.
The Cardinals were led in scoring by junior guard Nate Koenig who scored a game high 18 off the bench including five three pointers. Freshman forward Jared Prince led Catholic in rebounding grabbing seven boards. Senior forward Darrell Carroll and sophomore guard Billy Donovan also reached double figures with 13 and 11 points respectively.
USMMA raced out to an early lead as they scored the first 12 points of the contest, their largest advantage of the game. After a timeout by Catholic head coach Steve Howes, the Cardinals would go on a run of their own scoring 14 of the next 18 closing the margin to 16-14 just about halfway through the opening period.
Kings Point would again open up a seven point lead with 3:26 to go in the first half by means of a Denver Effland layup. However, as they did before, Catholic struck back with a layup of their own, followed by a Jared Prince three pointer to close the gap to 27-25. The Mariners wouldn't relinquish the lead in the opening frame as they closed out the first half with a 34-31 advantage.
The Cardinals came out of the gates strong scoring the first six points of the second half and taking their first lead of the game by a score of 37-34. After a made jump shot by Mariner's junior guard Frankie Wiseley, the Cardinals scored the next five, opening up their biggest lead of the night, 42-36 with 16:30 to play.
The teams traded points for the remainder of the game. After a Reed Buck layup tied the it at the seven minute mark, no team would take a lead greater than three for the rest of the contest.
With 2:17 remaining, a jump shot by Catholic's junior center Chris Kearney gave the Cardinals a 65-62 lead, which ended up being their last of the game. A pair of Reed Buck jump shots swayed the advantage back to the Mariners and a pair of pressure free throws by sophomore guard Michael Farace with seven seconds left sealed it.
The win moves the Mariners within one game of a Landmark Conference playoff spot and gives them four wins in their last five games. They look to keep rolling as they face off against conference leading University of Scranton at Liebertz gym on Friday, February 10th at 7:30 PM.
Photo by Shawn Antonelli