Washington, DC – Senior Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) was unstoppable Saturday afternoon as the center posted 34 points and 18 rebounds in Merchant Marine's 93-83 upset victory over first-place Catholic. The Mariners outrebounded the Cardinals, 45-27, en route to their third consecutive victory. USMMA has now shot over 50 percent from the floor in back-to-back games, hitting 31-of-57 (54.4%) against Catholic.
Merchant Marine (9-10, 4-5 Landmark) got off to a quick start, taking a 7-1 advantage on a David Smith (Lakewood, WA) trifecta. Smith finished the day with 10 points while the Mariners knocked down six three-pointers in the game. USMMA's first half lead grew to 15 points at the 2:10 mark after Sergio capitalized on a pair of free throw attempts. The Mariners made 25-of-39 (64.1%) at the charity stripe, including 5-of-6 from Payton Ball (Hempstead, NC).
Catholic (12-7, 6-2 Landmark) had four players reach double digits in scoring and was paced by the 17 points of Corey Stanford. The Cardinals chipped away at the USMMA lead and trailed by just seven with 3:35 to play following a Jeff Holland triple. Sergio and George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, NY), who struggled with foul trouble all night, answered with two straight baskets to push the cushion back to double digits.
The Mariners sealed the victory with solid free throw shooting down the stretch, making 10 of their final 12 attempts at the line. Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) added 16 points and seven rebounds to the triumph while Matthew Miller (Augusta, GA) chipped in 11 points off the bench. Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, KS) continued his recent streak of solid performances with 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
The USMMA men's basketball team now sits one-half game back of third place in the Landmark Conference standings. The Mariners return to action Wednesday night at home against Scranton, tip-off is set for 7:00 PM.