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Bench sparks Mariners' comeback over Swarthmore, 75-68

SWARTHMORE, Pa. - As it turns out, there is substitute for success.

Just ask the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy men's basketball team.

The Mariners used their bench to erase a nine-point second-deficit to register their second win of the young season, a 75-68 vcitory over Swarthmore College in the second game of the 20th annual Equinox Classic on Friday night.

In an outstanding performance, the Mariners' (2-0) reserves outscored their Garnet rivals, 45-12, at Tarble Pavilion. Reed Buck led the way with 14 points, thanks to 6-of-10 shooting, and eight rebounds. Another substitute, Kevin Kerr, added 12 points.

Starting forward Patrick Farrell collected a team-high 18 points on the strength of 9-of-15 shooting from the field.

Facing a 49-40 deficit with 13 remaining, the Merchant Marines went on a 14-3 tear over a five-minute span to take the lead at 54-52. Kerr sparked the run with five points, while Farrell added four.

The Mariners took the lead for good at 56-54 as Nick Sergio sank a layup with 7:20 remaining in the game.

Swarthmore (0-2) looked in control of the game early in the second half, using its defense and ability to get to the free-throw line -- the hosts finished 26-of-33 from the charity stripe -- to build that nine-point lead.

Garnet junior Will Gates scored a game-high 28 points on four three-pointers and 8-of-16 shooting. Sophomore Jay Kober added 14 points, 10 of which came from the free-throw line. Junior Matt Turner pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with four points, two blocks and two steals.

The Mariners will face Haverford in their second game of the tournament at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Haverford dropped a 73-70 decision in overtime to the Coast Guard Academy in the tournament opener on Friday.