Setting the Scene... For the fourth time this season the USMMA men's basketball team takes on a ranked opponent as #10 Catholic comes to O'Hara Hall Saturday night. The Mariners defeated Drew, 75-66, on Wednesday night and will look to avenge a 74-57 loss at the hands of the Cardinals earlier this year. USMMA is 1-2 this year against NCAA ranked teams but Saturday will be the first time that the Mariners host a ranked opponent. Catholic enters Saturday night as winners of four straight and nine of its last ten.
Series History... Catholic now holds a narrow 11-9 edge over the Mariners in the all-time series between the two programs. Last year, both sides were able to pick up a road victory while the Cardinals have already defended their home court in 2012-13. In that game, USMMA dominated the glass with a 47-32 rebounding edge but were tripped up by 20 turnovers.
Chasing 1,000... Reed Buck (Lawrenceville, GA), in just his third season at USMMA, is pursuing the elite 1,000 point club. He currently stands at 971 points in a Mariner uniform, just 29 points short of the 1,000 milestone. Buck is the reigning Landmark Conference Player of the Year and leads the league in scoring this season with 19.0 points per game.
"Double" Trouble... Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) has come on strong as of late and registered a double-double in three straight games. Sergio had a monster game against Drew, racking up season highs of 20 points and 16 rebounds in the victory.
Cleaning the Glass... Merchant Marine ranks first in the Landmark Conference in rebounding and rebounding margin this season. USMMA pulls down 42.2 boards per game and is out-rebounding opponents by an average of 7.6 boards per game. Nationally, the Mariners are 34th in NCAA Division III in rebounding margin.
As Simple as Shooting... The key to USMMA victories in 2012-13 has been a simple formula; have a higher field goal percentage than your opponent. Merchant Marine is 9-0 when accomplishing that goal while notching a 1-8 mark when posting a lower field goal percentage than its opposition.
Up Next... The Mariners return to action again Monday night for their final non-conference game of the year as they travel north to face-off with Wesleyan (CT).