Juniata Topples Merchant Marine, 74-62
Huntingdon, PA – Junior Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) recorded his second straight double-double Saturday afternoon with 12 points and 12 rebounds but the USMMA men's basketball team dropped a 74-62 decision to Landmark Conference rival Juniata. The Mariners, the top rebounding team in the league, controlled the glass and out-rebounded the home team, 45-31. However, the Eagles lead throughout the second half and capitalized on far more trips to the free throw line, going 17-of-27 at the charity stripe, to down the Mariners.
Juniata (12-5, 4-2 Landmark) jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the opening tip. The Mariners would rattle off the next seven points and take a 7-5 edge on a George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, NY) jump shot. The two teams battled evenly throughout the first period but Juniata's Brian Scholly closed the first half with back-to-back buckets to give the Eagles a 34-30 advantage heading into the intermission.
Merchant Marine (9-8, 2-5 Landmark) cut the deficit to 44-41 on the strength of a Frankie Wiseley (Emmaus, PA) three-pointer. Wiseley finished the game with six points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Reed Buck (Lawrenceville, GA) paced USMMA with 16 points and now stands at 963 total points in a Mariner uniform.
The Eagles pushed the lead to ten points at 57-47 halfway through the second period on a Nate Higgins jumper. The Mariners closed to within six on a Sergio free throw with 5:55 remaining in regulation but would be unable to get any closer down the stretch. All five Juniata starters reached double figures in points with Scholly and Jeremy Hays each registering a game high 18 points. USMMA shot 32.9 percent (23-70) from the field while the Eagles made 47.3 percent (26-55) from the floor.
The Mariner men's basketball team returns to the hardwood this Wednesday for a road conference contest against Drew.