Merchant Marine Prepares for Dramatic Season Finale at Susquehanna
Setting the Scene... The USMMA men's basketball team closes the regular season Saturday afternoon at Susquehanna. A victory over the Crusaders coupled with a Moravian loss at Catholic would secure Merchant Marine a berth in the 2013 Landmark Conference Tournament. USMMA has won three of its last four games while Susquehanna is riding a three-game losing streak since defeating Scranton two weeks ago in overtime.
Series History... The Mariners now lead the all-time series against Susquehanna, 7-6, after defeating the Crusaders last month, 81-66. In that game, Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) exploded for career highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds. The Mariners shot a blistering 49.2 percent from the floor in the two team's first meeting of the year. USMMA will also be looking for redemption as Susquehanna swept the season series in 2011-12.
Playoff Picture... The Landmark Conference postseason race is nearly over with just USMMA and Moravian in limbo, fighting over the fourth seed. Catholic, Scranton, and Juniata have locked up the top-three seeds, respectively. Juniata will travel to Scranton and either the Mariners or Greyhounds will play at Catholic in the conference semifinals, which are set for Wednesday night.
Cleaning the Glass... Merchant Marine dominated Drew on the glass last time out, pulling down a staggering 59 rebounds. USMMA leads the Landmark Conference and ranks in the NCAA top-20 in rebounding margin. Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) tops the league's individual rankings with 7.9 rebounds per game.
Bang For Your "Buck"... Reigning Landmark Conference Player of the Year Reed Buck (Lawrenceville, GA) has been consistent all-season and currently leads the league in scoring with 18.8 points per game. Buck has scored double digits in 21 of USMMA's 24 games this year and has eclipsed the 20-point plateau 12 times in 2012-13. He dropped in 24 points, including 17 in the first half in the Mariners victory over the Rangers.
Taking Charity... The Mariners have corrected their early season struggles at the free throw line and over the last two games have made 79.5 percent (27-34) of their attempts at the line. For the season, Merchant Marine is shooting 65.5 percent from the charity stripe and are paced by the 78.7 percent mark of Reed Buck.