Free Throw Struggles Haunt USMMA in 75-63 Loss to Scranton
Kings Point, NY - The Merchant Marine men's basketball team was 5-of-16 (31.2%) at the free throw line in the second half as Scranton toppled the Mariners, 75-63, Wednesday night. David Smith (Lakewood, WA) drained five three-pointers and led USMMA with 19 points on the night. The Mariners held a 43-33 rebounding advantage but was unable to run its winning streak to four games.
Merchant Marine (9-11, 4-6 Landmark) built an early lead with an 11-4 spurt in the first half, capped by a Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, KS) tip-in. Smith drained a trifecta at the 4:41 mark to push the USMMA cushion to 10 points at 33-23. The Mariners largest lead was 11 following a George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, NY) jumper. The Royals burned through four timeouts in the first half and eventually trimmed the USMMA edge to five, 40-35, heading into halftime.
Scranton (17-3, 7-2) grabbed a 46-45 advantage as Ross Danzig dropped in five straight points, he would finish the night with a game high 22 points. The Royals shot 54.3 percent on the night en route to their seventh consecutive victory. Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) helped USMMA close a Scranton lead with an offensive rebound and tip-in to make it 58-56 with 7:31 remaining. Merchant Marine would then go cold at the charity stripe, missing five consecutive free throws while remaining down just two points.
Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) hit a free throw with 2:55 on the clock to bring the Mariners within six points, 66-60. Karczewski was the Mariners second highest scorer with 12 points. USMMA would be unable to catch the Royals as the visitors made their free throws down the stretch to seal the 75-63 verdict.
The Mariners will return to the court Saturday afternoon at 12:00 PM clash against Goucher.