KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 1, 2018) – The USMMA men's basketball team had a game go into overtime for the sixth time this season and escaped with a big 83-80 victory over Skyline opponent St. Joseph's-Brooklyn on Thursday night at the Liebertz Gymnasium. With the win, the Mariners' record evens up at 9-9 (7-7 Skyline), while the Bears fall to 8-13 (7-9 Skyline) after suffering the loss.
To view a photo gallery of the contest, click here.
The Mariners had five players score in double-figures, led by freshman Seth Barnes (Chillicothe, Ohio), who drained a game-high 20 points. Classmate James Walsh (Huntington, N.Y.) added 19 with six boards and four assists, while sophomore Eric Sobocinski (Southampton, N.J.) and freshman Jesse Neloms (Memphis, Tenn.) both contributed 12 apiece. Sobocinski tied for the game-best with four three-pointers and Neloms contributed three steals.
Junior David Washington (Frisco, Texas) posted his third-straight double-double with 10 points and a team-high 12 boards to go along with five steals and four helpers. Both sophomore Connor Green (Flower Mound, Texas) and senior Christian Wittendorf (Granger, Ind.) had four points each and senior Stephen Hinton (Warrenton, Va.) rounded out the Mariner scorers with two points.
After the Mariners scored the first basket of the game on a jumper by Walsh, the Bears went on to score the next eight points and later led 15-7 at 12:32. The Mariners fought all the way back to within one after a 9-2 run and forced St. Joe's to take a timeout at 9:49 with a 17-16 lead.
Neloms put Merchant Marine ahead with a jumper shortly after the breather, however SJC scored the next six points on back-to-back three-pointers and led 23-18 at 7:51. The Mariners responded with another 9-2 run to take a two-point lead, 29-27, at 4:36. The advantage hit a first half-high of four, 35-31, after a three by Walsh, but the Bears would tie up the score at 35-35 with just 38 ticks left.
After Neloms hit another long jumper with 19 seconds left, St. Joe's finished the half with a three-pointer as time winded down and took a 38-37 lead into the halftime break.
The Bears continued to lead for the first four minutes of the second half then the two teams exchanged leads twice before it became tied, 50-50, at 12:37. SJC rattled off seven-straight points from there, but the Mariners came right back with eight-straight of their own to take a 58-57 lead at 8:31.
A three-point play less than a minute later put the visitors back ahead, and they extended their advantage to four, 63-59, before USMMA tied it up with back-to-back layups with just 4:58 to play. St. Joseph's took a lead 21 seconds later and held it until the final minute. Barnes hit a three-point to put Merchant Marine ahead 72-70 with 13 to play, but down on the other end the Mariners got called for a foul and SJC's sophomore Stephane Etheart hit both free-throws to tie the score up.
A last-second attempt at a three by Neloms hit off the back rim and bounced out, leading to overtime.
In the extra frame, Washington put USMMA ahead with a layup and then Barnes made it a five-point game with a three at 3:43. The advantage hit six, 81-75, at 2:11, but the Bears didn't go quietly. They scored five-straight on a three and then a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left, but Neloms hit both his attempts from the line just three seconds later, forcing St. Joe's to need a three to tie it up. The desperation try was unsuccessful and the Mariners held on for the victory.
For St. Joseph's, Stephane Etheart led the way with 19 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, while freshman Sebastien Etheart also had a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards to go along with four assists and three blocks. Three other players scored in double-figures for the Bears – sophomore Dimitri Sirakis had 14, senior Alec Willis added 12 and junior Joseph Idyahia contributed 11 off the bench.
The Mariners will host SUNY Maritime College in a big Skyline Conference showdown this Saturday, Feb. 3. Tipoff against the Privateers is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Liebertz Gymnasium. The game is part of a doubleheader with the women's team. Live stats and a live video feed of the rivalry contest will be available with links on the USMMA Men's Basketball Schedule Page.
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