Merchant Marine Outlasts Rival Coast Guard in Double Overtime, 78-76
New London, CT – Senior Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) made two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining in double overtime to ultimately send the Mariners to a 78-76 victory over rival Coast Guard Wednesday night. Sergio had an all-around strong night with a monster double-double of 25 points and 13 rebounds. Andrew Williams (Lantana, TX) also contributed 12 points and nine rebounds and George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, NY) added 14 points off the bench.
Coast Guard (2-6) forced overtime on a Kevin Alvarez layup with 0.9 seconds remaining in regulation to knot the game at 60-60. Sergio had provided the Mariners a two-point cushion with six seconds on the clock. The Bears also came from behind to force double overtime with a late John Benedict lay-in while Alvarez's buzzer beater rattled in-and-out to keep USMMA alive.
Merchant Marine (3-3) dominated the rebounding battle, 47-35, and it would prove to be the difference late. Sergio's go-ahead free throws were set up after the center's fifth offensive rebound of the night. USMMA made 20-of-29 at the free throw line and was able to overcome 20 turnovers. Coast Guard did the majority of its damage from three-point range, sinking 10 total trifectas.
The two teams went to halftime tied at 30-30 as neither side was able to open up a lead larger than four points. The largest Mariner lead of the game came with 11:45 to play on a Sergio layup. Hatzioannides racked up a career high six steals in the game while Williams recorded three blocks.
USMMA led from wire-to-wire in the second overtime while David Smith (Lakewood, WA) scored six of his nine total points in the extra sessions. The Bears had four starters reach double figures in scoring and were led by Benedict's 19 points.
The Mariners return to action this weekend for Landmark Conference games at Scranton and Moravian.