MADISON, N.J. – The United States Merchant Marine Academy men's basketball team closed out the 2011-2012 season with a 96-74 win over Drew University on Saturday. The 96 points scored by the Mariners was their highest total of the season, surpassing the 94 points they scored on December 3, also against Drew University. The Mariners finish the season 7-7 in Landmark Conference play and 12-13 overall while the Rangers of Drew University finish at 5-8 in Landmark Conference matchups and 7-17 overall.
In the opening minutes of the first half, the game stayed close as the lead changed twice and the score was tied four times. With the scored tied 13-13 at the 12:58 mark, the Mariners began to pull away, largely in part to a 20-point first half from sophomore Reed Buck who was 8-11 from the field and 4-5 from three-point range. The Mariners also found success at the free-throw line, out-shooting the Rangers 71.4% to 50%. Sophomore Zach Karczewski was a perfect 3-3 from the line, helping the Mariners pull away from the Rangers and go into the second half with a 46-37 lead.
The Mariners didn't let up in the second half, as sophomore Nick Sergio opened the scoring with two consecutive layups. Sergio would lead the team in scoring for the second half with 16 points on 8-12 shooting as the Mariners never led the Rangers by less than nine points for the remainder of the game. The Rangers improved their shooting from the foul line during the second half, out-shooting the Mariners 76.9% to 50%, but the Mariners shot for 60% from both the field and three-point range. The Rangers would be unable to keep up as they mustered only a 34.4% shooting rate from the field and 33.3% from three-point distance. The Mariners would shoot for 50 points in the second half, bringing the final score to 96-74, in favor of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
Reed Buck, Nick Sergio and Zach Karczewski all reached double digits for the Mariners on Saturday. Buck led the scoring with 29 total points on 11-17 shooting and was a perfect 2-2 from the foul line. Sergio had 23 points on 11-18 shooting and led the team with nine rebounds on the night. Karczewski added 15 points on 6-8 shooting and was a perfect 3-3 from the free-throw line.
Senior Asmar Capers led the scoring for the Rangers with 26 points on 8-21 shooting and was a perfect 7-7 from the free-throw line.
The Mariners end the season in a tie for fourth place in the Landmark Conference with Moravian College, who also finished with a conference record of 7-7 and an overall record of 12-13. Moravian wins the tiebreaker for having a better record against the top three teams in the conference and will advance to the playoffs.