Daytona Beach, FL – The USMMA men's basketball team had four players reach double figures in scoring as the Mariners defeated Elmira, 68-60, in the final game of the Land of Magic Classic on Sunday night. Reed Buck (Lawrenceville, GA) led the team with 15 points, both George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, NY) and Scott Dennin (Gilbertsville, PA) added 12 points, and Andrew Williams (Lantana, TX) chipped in 11 points. USMMA will head back to the northeast after splitting its two games in the sunshine state.
Merchant Marine (7-4) fell behind 4-0 to start the game but quickly manufactured a 9-0 run to jump on top, 9-4. The Mariners also closed the period with 11 straight points to take a 31-20 advantage into the intermission. USMMA dominated the glass throughout the night, holding a 39-29 rebounding advantage. Dennin paced the Mariners with seven rebounds while Hatzioannides, Williams and Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) all brought down six boards.
Elmira (0-10) got a double-double from Chris Cassidy, 18 points and 11 rebounds, but was ultimately doomed by shooting 26.9 percent from the floor in the first half. Hatzioannides supplied back-to-back buckets for USMMA to balloon its cushion to 20 points, 49-29, with 13:22 remaining in regulation. The Soaring Eagles scored 10 points in the final 2:16 but it was too little, too late as Merchant Marine picked up a 68-60 victory.
The Mariners had their best shooting night of the year at the free throw line on Sunday, making 13-of-16 for 81.3 percent at the charity stripe. USMMA recorded five blocks for the third consecutive contest as Williams and Buck both rejected a pair of shots.
Merchant Marine returns to action after the New Year as they travel to Connecticut for a Wednesday night clash against Trinity.