Kings Point, NY – The USMMA men's basketball team shot 52.2 percent from the floor but could not overcome the Catholic Cardinals in a 76-66 decision Saturday afternoon inside O'Hara Hall. Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) led the Mariners with 19 points while Scott Dennin (Gilbertsville, PA) had eight points and six rebounds. Corey Stanford posted a game high 25 points and accounted for five of Catholic's three-pointers.
Merchant Marine (5-8, 1-3 Landmark) battled back-and-forth in the opening half and took its first lead at 21-18 on a Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, KS) trifecta. USMMA outscored the Cardinals 10-0 on the fast break in the first half but also committed 10 turnovers. The Cardinals closed the period on a 9-5 run to take a 27-26 cushion into the intermission.
Catholic (8-5, 2-0 Landmark) exploded out of the gates in the second half and a Bryson Fonville jump shot made it a 10-point game, 43-33. The CUA lead reached as many as 17 points, 56-39, with 11:09 to play following a Steve Limberiou trey. The Cardinals were efficient at the free throw line all day, making 23-of-28 (82.1%) at the charity stripe.
USMMA chipped away at the deficit and scored five straight points to make it a 62-57 affair with 2:47 to play in regulation. Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) totaled 13 points and seven rebounds, recording nine points and six rebounds in the second half alone. However, the Mariners would be unable to close the gap down the stretch as Catholic came away with the 76-66 verdict.
The Cardinals committed just three turnovers in the game compared to 17 for the Mariners. Merchant Marine was dominant inside, blocking eight shots and owning a 36-27 rebounding advantage.
The USMMA men's basketball team returns to action Tuesday night at home for a non-conference game against Trinity (CT).