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February 25, 2014

USMMA Clashes with #23 Scranton in Landmark Semifinals Tomorrow

Game 26 - Landmark Semifinals
Merchant Marine at #23 Scranton
February 26, 2014 - 5:30 PM
Scranton, PA - John Long Center

Complete Game Notes (PDF) | 2013-14 Game Notes Archive  |  2013-14 Men's Basketball Media Guide

Setting the Scene...
The Merchant Marine men's basketball team will take to the road looking for an upset Wednesday night in the Landmark Conference semifinals.  The fourth-seeded Mariners square-off with top-seeded #23 Scranton for the third time this season.  USMMA is just one of three teams to defeat the Royals this season, downing Scranton in overtime, 86-83, in December.  Scranton is searching for a third Landmark Conference title in the last four years after winning back-to-back crowns in 2011 and 2012. 

Series History...
Scranton leads the all-time series against Merchant Marine, 13-7, but has split with the Mariners in each of the last two seasons.  USMMA has also won both of its last two trips to Royals' territory inside the Long Center.  Merchant Marine's win over Scranton in 2012-13 came when the Royals were ranked ninth in the country.

Taking the Help... 
Heading into the regular season finale, USMMA controlled its own playoff destiny.  However, the Mariners suffered an 87-77 setback at the hands of Susquehanna.  Fortunately, Merchant Marine got the help it needed to advance into the Landmark Conference Tournament for a second straight year.  USMMA finished the year in a three-way tie for fourth, advancing to the postseason on the strength of its win over Scranton and a season sweep of Juniata.

Playoff History... 
The Mariners are appearing in their fifth Landmark Conference Tournament in the seventh edition of the event.  USMMA dropped a 65-57 decision to eventual champion Catholic in the semifinals of last year's tournament.  Merchant Marine last faced Scranton in the playoffs in the 2011 tournament, losing to the top-seeded Royals in overtime, 74-71.

Power "Sergio"... 
Senior Nick Sergio (Patchogue, NY) has been the anchor in the lineup for USMMA, leading the team in both scoring and rebounding.  The center is averaging 13.8 points per game and is second in the Landmark Conference with 9.1 rebounds per game.  Sergio has recorded 12 rebounds in each of the last three games, including at least five offensive boards in those contests.

Landmark Conference Notebook... 
Both of the top two seeds, Scranton and Susquehanna enter the Landmark Conference Tournament on at least a four game winning streak, with the Royals having won 12 straight.  The bottom two seeds, Catholic and USMMA, have both lost at least two games heading into the playoffs with the Cardinals having dropped four straight.

Scouting the Royals... 
Scranton boasts the Landmark Conference's leading scorer in Ross Danzig and a center who is shooting 58.9 percent from the floor in Brendan Boken.  Danzig is averaging 20.2 points per game while Boken is also pulling down 7.3 rebounds per game.  Scranton has lost just three games all season with two setbacks coming in overtime.

Video Preview with Coach David Muchnick: