OWINGS MILLS, Md. (Dec. 29, 2017) – Freshman Seth Barnes (Chillicothe, Ohio) made his return to the court for the USMMA men's basketball team on Friday night after missing the last three games and drained a career-high 21 points to lead all players in the Mariners' 84-72 victory over Penn State-Abington on the first night of Stevenson University's Buffalo Wild Wings Classic down in Maryland. The win improves USMMA's record to 5-3 on the season, while the Nittany Lions fall to 2-7 in defeat.
Barnes' 25 was on 8-for-14 shooting with three three-pointers. The rookie also had five steals and three rebounds.
The Mariners, who played tonight without the services of their top scorer, had a total of five players score in double-figures. Freshman Jesse Neloms (Memphis, Tenn.) contributed 13 off the bench and classmate James Walsh (Huntington, N.Y.) had 12 points with six rebounds, a game-high six assists and three steals. Sophomore Eric Sobocinski (Southampton, N.J.) registered 11 points, thanks in part to three 3's, and junior David Washington (Frisco, Texas) chipped in with 12 points.
Sophomore Connor Green (Flower Mound, Texas) led the Mariners with seven rebounds and also recorded eight points, four assists and two steals. Off the bench, sophomore Michael Bell (Ashburn, Va.) added three points, while senior Stephen Hinton (Warrenton, Va.), junior Kijona Henley (Smithfield, Va.) and sophomore Will Quigley (Trumbull, Conn.) rounded on the scoring with two points apiece.
Merchant Marine trailed 36-33 at halftime after a back-and-forth first 20 minutes. The Mariners shot 40.0% from the field (12-for-30) in the opening half with six three-pointers. The Nittany Lions shot just 38.2% (13-for-34), but benefitted from 14 points scored off of USMMA turnovers.
The Mariners came out on fire to start the second half, scoring the first 12 points to take a 45-36 lead. They built their lead up to 15 points at 13:26 when a Barnes three-pointer made the score 55-40. The advantage stayed in double-digits for the next 12-plus minutes before PSU-Abington threatened late – coming within seven points twice in the final minute, but the Mariners hit 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
After shooting 54.8% (17-for-31) in the second half, Merchant Marine finished with 47.5% shooting on the game. The Mariners were much more disciplined with the ball in the second, committing just four turnovers, while the Nittany Lions lost possession 15 times and it was a reversal of the first half, as USMMA benefitted with 25 points off of turnovers.
Penn State-Abington was led by freshman Pernell Ghee, who scored 17 points, while junior Jordan Lomax recorded a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Freshman Devin Hill had 14 points off the bench and classmate Jay Fitzgerald added 13. Sophomore Quinn DeNofa had a good all-around game with seven points, nine boards, a game-high six steals and three rebounds.
The Mariners will move on to play in the championship game of the Buffalo Wild Wings Classic on Saturday against hosts Stevenson University. Tipoff against the Mustangs is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Owings Mills Gymnasium. Live stats and a live video feed will be available with links on the USMMA Men's Basketball Schedule Page.
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