Kings Point, NY – David Smith (Lakewood, WA) tallied five of Merchant Marine's 11 total three-pointers as the Mariner sharp shooters paved the way in a 79-68 triumph over Juniata Saturday afternoon. Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, KS) knocked down three treys of his own as USMMA was 55 percent from downtown. Smith led all scorers with 21 points while four other Mariners also reached double figures in a Landmark Conference victory that keeps their playoff hopes alive.
Merchant Marine (7-10, 2-5 Landmark) started the game red-hot as Smith and Padgett combined for three straight trifectas and give the home side a 9-3 edge. The Mariners largest lead of the period came on a Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) layup with 2:42 to play. Karczewski finished the day with 12 points while freshman Hunter Jones (Goodyear, AZ) added 10 points.
Juniata (12-5, 3-3 Landmark) closed the first half on a 6-1 run and trailed the Mariners by just three, 31-28, heading into halftime. The Eagles had the momentum early in the second half and grabbed a 44-36 cushion on a Kyle Koehler three-ball. Koehler was Juniata's top performer with 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
The Mariners would notch the next eight points of the contest to dead lock the score at 44-44. The run started with a layup from Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) and was capped by back-to-back triples from Smith and Jones. Sergio rounded out his stat line with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds. Sergio sparked another 6-0 spurt late in the second half with an offensive rebound and tip-in as Merchant Marine took control, 66-54, with 3:16 remaining in regulation.
USMMA was 24-of-36 (66.7%) at the free throw line on the afternoon and made enough shots at the charity stripe down the stretch to hold off the Eagles. The Mariners held a 41-33 advantage on the glass and added to their Landmark Conference leading total with five blocks on the day.
Merchant Marine returns to the friendly confines of O'Hara Hall Wednesday night for another Landmark Conference clash as they tip-off against Drew at 7:00 pm.