Throggs Neck, NY – The USMMA men's basketball team dropped a 70-49 decision to RIT in the season opener for both teams and the first game of the 2013 Admiral's Classic hosted by Maritime (NY). The Mariners jumped out to a 15-3 lead to start the game but an eight minute stretch with only one field goal to the start the second half would allow the Tigers to pull away. Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) paced the offense with team highs of 13 points and seven rebounds.
Merchant Marine (0-1) scored the first ten points of the game as Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) netted two lay-ups along with four points from Karczewski and two on an Andrew Williams (Lantana, TX) jumper to cap the run. USMMA shot a blistering 53.8 percent (14-26) from the field in the first half. However, the Tigers would chip away at the lead and used five three-pointers along with seven offensive rebounds to level the score at 33-33 heading into halftime.
RIT (1-0) opened the second period with a 22-2 surge to break open the game with just under 12 minutes to play in regulation. Jameel Balenton poured in 11 of his game high 17 points in the spurt, including two trifectas. The Tigers were efficient from the line and finished the night shooting 88.9 percent (16-of-18) at the charity stripe.
USMMA freshman Hunter Jones (Goodyear, AZ) filled up the stat line coming off the bench in his first collegiate game. The rookie posted seven points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block in 20 minutes of action. Danny Collins (Sleepy Hollow, NY), a member of the Mariner baseball team, appeared in his first collegiate basketball game against the Tigers. The senior had two points, five rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.
RIT forced the Mariners into 21 turnovers and rounded out the night with 10 three-pointers, shooting over 40 percent from downtown. The Mariners were unable to close the gap built early in the second half by the Tigers as RIT cruised down the stretch to a 70-49 decision.
The USMMA men's basketball team returns to action tomorrow for its final game of the Admiral's Classic as they take on St. Lawrence at 3:00 pm.