Manhattan, NY – The Merchant Marine men's basketball team trailed NYU by just two with 1:31 remaining in regulation but was unable to defeat the Violets on the road Wednesday night. David Smith (Lakewood, WA) came off the bench as a huge factor in the game, scoring a team high 16 points as well as notching eight rebounds. NYU was paced by the 22 points of Even Kupferberg as the Violets grabbed the victory, 77-67.
NYU (5-0) built a 19-11 cushion early in the first half as Ryan Tana posted 11 points in the period. However, the Mariners kept within striking distance and scored five straight points to make it 29-27 with 3:07 left in the half. Freshman Matthew Miller (Augusta, GA) started the surge with back-to-back free throws as part of his 10 point night. The home team eventually took a 38-33 advantage into the intermission.
Merchant Marine (2-2) had the momentum early in the second half and a Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) layup gave the Mariners their first lead at 42-40. Karczewski recorded 13 points as the senior guard remains a consistent source of offense. The second half featured six lead changes and six ties as the two sides battled back-and-forth.
The Violets opened up a five-point edge at 69-64 with 2:37 on the clock following a Costis Gontikas conventional three-point play. Smith was the next to score as his trifecta with 1:31 to play provided drama down the stretch. Kupferberg gave the Mariners a chance to tie the game as he converted just one of two free throws on the next possession.
Smith launched a three ball from the right wing with 1:07 remaining that hit front rim and came right back to the sophomore. He fired again and was off target as Max Ralby came away with the defensive rebound for the Violets. NYU made its free throws to pull away in the closing minute of the game as the final score reached 77-67.
USMMA was extremely efficient at the free throw line, making 18-of-22 (81.8%) at the charity stripe. The Mariners blocked nine shots on the night, including four from Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY). Sergio also had seven points, five rebounds, and two steals. Andrew Williams (Lantana, TX) had a strong night on the glass with a team high nine rebounds to go along with six points.
The Mariners return to action Saturday for a Landmark Conference clash at Goucher.