KINGS POINT, N.Y. – An outstanding performance by sophomore Reed Buck allowed the United States Merchant Marine Academy to defeat Landmark-Conference-leading Juniata College, 75-70 on Saturday. The Mariners improve to 3-6 in Landmark Conference play and 8-12 overall while the Eagles fall to 6-3 in conference matchups and 14-6 overall.
First half action saw the score tied six times with eight lead changes, and neither team led by a margin greater than eight points. The Mariners offensive charge was led by Reed Buck, who had 20 points in 16 minutes of play in the half. The Eagles kept pace thanks to junior Alex Raymond who had 14 points, going a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line in the half. With two seconds remaining in the half and the Mariners ahead by one, Raymond was fouled by Buck and knocked down two free-throws to give the Eagles a one-point lead. Still two seconds remaining, Mariners senior Denver Effland inbounded the ball to senior Kevin Kerr who put up a half-court three-pointer at the buzzer to send the home crowd into an uproar, and the Mariners into the second half with a 36-34 lead over the Eagles.
The second half continued in similar fashion as the score was tied an additional four times and the lead changed twice. The final lead change came with 5:31 left to play as junior Bryan Lynch hit a three-pointer and Reed Buck knocked down a fastbreak dunk for the second night in a row, giving the Mariners a 64-59 lead over the Eagles. The Mariners would hold onto the lead for the remainder of the game, defeating the Eagles 75-70.
Reed Buck led the Mariners with 33 points, his second highest point total of the season. Of his 16 field goal attempts, Buck made 12 shots, which was the second highest mark in the Landmark Conference this season. The only player to surpass that was Drew University's Asmar Capers with 13 field goals earlier in the season. Buck was also a perfect 3-3 from three-point range and 6-6 from the foul line. Sophomore Michael Farace and junior Josh Beck also reached double digits in points, scoring 10 and 11 respectively.
Alex Raymond led the scoring for the Eagles with 23 points on 6-8 shooting and a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line. Free-throws proved to be a deciding factor in the game as the Mariners shot 77.3% from the line, while the Eagles shot only 52%. The Mariners also out-shot the Eagles from three-point range shooting 53.3% to the Eagles' 33.3%.
Next up for the United States Merchant Marine Academy is another Landmark Conference matchup as the Mariners go on the road to face Goucher College on February 3 at 7:30 p.m.