Kings Point, NY – In a game that saw both teams shoot over 50 percent from the field the Merchant Marine men's basketball team earned a 98-91 win over Potsdam St. Wednesday night. Five different Mariners scored in double figures as Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) paced the team with 20 points and eight rebounds. In his first start of the season George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, NY) tallied 12 points, nine assists, and three steals.
Merchant Marine (5-4) exploded in the first 5:38 of the game, quickly building a 14-0 cushion. Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) notched six of his 12 points during the run, including a tough fast break layup that turned into a three-point play. Matthew Miller (Augusta, GA) went on his own streak shortly after that, scoring 10 consecutive USMMA points as the home side took a 26-7 cushion just 8:32 into the game.
Potsdam St. (1-7) used red-hot shooting from beyond the arc to kick-start its offense, going five-of-six from downtown in the first half. The Bears clawed back into the game and trailed 53-35 at halftime despite shooting 50 percent (13-26) from the field. Potsdam St. was plagued by turnovers all night, committing 31 total, including 19 in the first half.
The offenses continued to produce in the second period while the Merchant Marine advantage hovered in double digits. Kenneth Pressey (Yorktown, VA) put in a layup that made it 90-72 with 3:19 on the clock before the Bears began one last surge. Potsdam St. would go on a 15-3 run and after a Rishawd Hendricks tip-in following a missed free throw as the Bears trailed by just two possessions at 93-87.
Chris Jennings (Plantation, FL), who played just three minutes off the bench, would go four-of-four on crucial free throws down the stretch. Potsdam St. had five players score in double figures and Darien Croft, who finished with 10, rattled in a three-pointer that made it 95-91 with 19 ticks left. However, that would be the last field goal of the game as USMMA came away with the 98-91 triumph.
The USMMA men's basketball team will return to action after the New Year as the Mariners take on Kenyon and Clarkson at the NYU Holiday Tournament.