Madison, NJ – Junior Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) piled up 20 points and ripped down 16 rebounds for his third straight double-double as the USMMA men's basketball team knocked-off Drew, 75-66, Wednesday night in a Landmark Conference clash. Freshman Scott Dennin (Gilbertsville, PA) also posted a double-double in just 17 minutes of action off the bench, totaling 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Mariners dominated the glass all night long, out-rebounding the home team, 53-32.
Merchant Marine (10-8, 3-5 Landmark) answered the Rangers' score to open the game by rattling off eight straight points, six coming on Sergio lay-ins. However, the Mariners still found themselves down 18-17 at the 11:39 mark of the first period. USMMA hit the gas pedal from there and poured in the next ten points, with the final five coming off the hand of freshman George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, NY).
The Mariners took a 46-34 cushion into halftime after shooting a blistering 52.6 percent (20-38) from the field. Sergio paced USMMA in the first frame with 10 points while Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) and Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, KS) both added eight points in the opening period.
Drew (9-9, 3-4) chipped away at the Merchant Marine advantage in the second half until back-to-back trifectas from Mike Klinger and John Ford made it a one-point game at 62-61 with 6:47 remaining in regulation. Dennin hit a pair of free throws on USMMA's next trip up the floor and the Mariners backed the rookie's effort with a Sergio layup and a three-pointer from Reed Buck (Lawrenceville, GA).
The Mariners defense locked down the Rangers in the final minutes as Ford's triple with 6:47 on the clock was Drew's final field goal of the contest. When the clock read zeroes, Merchant Marine had earned a 75-66 conference victory over the Rangers.
The USMMA men's basketball team will look for back-to-back league wins as they host nationally-ranked Catholic this Saturday at 6:00 pm inside O'Hara Hall.