Kings Point, NY – Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) racked up season highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Mariners knocked off Landmark Conference rival Susquehanna, 81-66, Saturday evening at O'Hara Hall. Reed Buck (Lawrenceville, GA) continued his red-hot shooting as the junior forward lit up the Crusaders for a game high 29 points. Andrew Williams (Lantana, TX) posted five blocks for the second time this season as the freshman also added 14 points and eight rebounds to his stat line.
Merchant Marine (9-6, 2-4 Landmark) used a 10-0 spurt, starting at the 11:15 mark, to open up what had been an evenly contested first half. Buck and Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, KS) both drained a pair of buckets to fuel the run. The Mariners also had their best free-throw shooting night inside O'Hara Hall this year, knocking down 20-of-28 (71.4%) from the charity stripe. USMMA entered halftime with an 11-point advantage, 35-24.
Susquehanna (5-10, 1-3 Landmark) found themselves down 60-40 just over six minutes into the second half as the Mariners fired on all cylinders to start the period. However, the Crusaders would rattle off nine straight points to cut the deficit to 60-49 on the strength of a Josh Miller trifecta. Susquehanna was led by the 21 points of Brandon Hedley, who also buried five three-pointers. The Crusaders finished the game 7-of-17 (41.2%) from downtown but only 21-58 (36.2%) from the field.
Following a Karczewski lay-up and a USMMA defensive stop Andrew Williams threw down a thunderous dunk to give the momentum back to the Mariners. However, Susquehanna continued to try and reel in Merchant Marine and an A.J. Dean fast break bucket made it 68-60 with 4:30 to play. Karczewski again answered the bell for the Mariners with a fast break lay-in going the other way to push the cushion back to ten points.
Buck put the exclamation point on the victory down the stretch as a two-handed dunk made it 76-61 with just 2:17 remaining in regulation. The Mariners cruised in the final minutes to pick up the victory, 81-66.
Frankie Wiseley (Emmaus, PA) had a superb day at the point for USMMA, dishing out 10 assists and only committing two turnovers. Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) played strong under the basket and recorded seven points and six rebounds.
The USMMA men's basketball team returns to action Tuesday night for a non-conference game on the road against Stevens.