Kings Point, NY – Freshman Matthew Miller (Augusta, GA) dropped in a career high 20 points but USMMA suffered an 81-69 setback to Stevens Tuesday night inside O'Hara Hall. Patrick Sabatino recorded a game high 27 points as the Ducks shot 48.3 percent from the field. Seniors Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) and Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) both finished with a double-double in the loss.
Stevens (7-3) jumped out to an early 9-2 lead following a huge dunk from Sabatino. The Ducks limited USMMA to 32 percent shooting in the first half, including 2-of-11 from three-point range. Sabatino converted a conventional three-point play with 4:04 remaining in the half to make it a 32-22 game. However, the Mariners would end the period on a 7-2 spurt that sent them into the locker room trailing by only five, 34-29.
Merchant Marine (5-7) had the momentum early in the second half as a Miller trifecta paved the way for the Mariners to knot the game at 36-36. Over the next four minutes Stevens retook control of the contest and built a 53-41 edge following a Kenny Gan layup. The lead reached as many as 14 points with 5:55 left to play before USMMA mounted a late charge.
David Smith (Lakewood, WA) drained a trey at the 2:00 minute mark as Merchant Marine climbed back to with six points at 67-61. The Mariners would come up empty on their next couple of possessions and the Ducks went a perfect 12-of-12 on free throw attempts down the stretch to seal the 81-69 decision.
Sergio totaled 13 points along with 12 rebounds on the night while Karczewski had 14 points and 11 rebounds despite playing in foul trouble. USMMA turned the ball over 15 times in the game, which led to 28 points. The Mariners also struggled at the free throw line, shooting 50 percent (12-24) at the charity stripe.
The USMMA men's basketball team returns to conference action Saturday against Catholic for a 2:00 pm tip-off.