Kings Point, NY – The Mariners closed a 13-point first-half deficit but eventually suffered a 68-65 setback at the hands of Moravian Wednesday night in Landmark Conference action. Zach Karczewski (Austin, TX) paced USMMA with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Greyhounds made just five field goals in the second half but were aided by 23-of-30 at the free throw line in the second period alone.
Moravian (8-8, 3-3 Landmark) surged out of the starting blocks to a 15-2 advantage following a Blake English layup. Cameron Cullen recorded a team high 18 points for the Greyhounds who shot 32.6 percent from the field. USMMA would close the gap throughout the first half and a Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) tip-in on the final possession made it 34-27, Moravian, heading into the intermission.
Merchant Marine (6-10, 1-5 Landmark) chipped away at the deficit and pulled even at the 14:54 mark on a pair of George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, NY) free throws. Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, KS) knocked down a trifecta from the left wing that gave USMMA its biggest lead, 53-47, with 8:37 to play. Sergio had 15 points for the Mariners while Matthew Miller (Augusta, GA) added 10 points off the bench.
The two teams traded the lead down the stretch and a Karczewski layup with 1:17 on the clock put the home side up 65-64. Five seconds later, Cullen would answer for Moravian with a layup. The Mariners came up empty on their next possession despite securing one of their 23 offensive rebounds. Merchant Marine was forced to foul and Matt Bosch converted two free throws for the Greyhounds. USMMA called a timeout in the frontcourt, trailing 68-65, with 9.1 seconds remaining.
Padgett got away a buzzer beater from the right corner with one second remaining. But the shot was just off target as Moravian came away with the Landmark Conference victory. Merchant Marine returns to the court Saturday for another Landmark Conference tilt against Juniata at 4:00 PM in O'Hara Hall.