KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 18, 2016) – On Monday, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy men's basketball team lost to Landmark Conference opponent Elizabethtown, 75-74, at the Liebertz Gymnasium. In defeat, the Mariners fall to 8-8 (4-6 Landmark) on the season, while the Blue Jays improve to 3-14 (1-8 Landmark).
Three Mariners recorded double-digit scoring performances, as junior Matt Miller (Augusta, Ga.) led the way with a game-high 27 points, while senior Preston Padgett (Goodyear, Ariz.) drained 16 and classmate David Smith (Lakewood, Wash.) added 13 to go along with a game-high seven rebounds.
Sophomore Robbie Kennedy (Spring Lake, N.J.) chipped in with nine points off the bench and senior Scott Dennin (Gilbertsville, Pa.) and junior George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, N.Y.) added six and three points, respectively. Both Smith and Hatzioannides tied for the game-high with five assists.
Merchant Marine got off to a slow start, falling behind by as many as nine points on three occasions in the opening nine-plus minutes of the game. However, three straight three-pointers (two by Smith and another by Miller) tied the game up at 22-22 with 7:08 remaining in the first. The Mariners took their first lead of the day shortly after on a layup by Miller. After the two teams traded the next three baskets to make the score 26-26 at 4:48, USMMA finished the half on a 12-3 run to take a nine-point lead, 38-29, into the locker at halftime.
Play was pretty even throughout the early part of the second half and the Mariners pushed their advantage up to as many as 10 points on four occasions in the middle of the frame. The Blue Jays stuck around, however, and slowly started to chip away at the home lead. In a span of 9:25, the visitors went on a 24-13 run that saw them grab their first lead of the half, 70-69, with just 2:18 remaining in the second.
Padgett answered with a three-pointer, but three ETown free-throws over the next minute put the Blue Jays back ahead by one with exactly a minute remaining. Back on the other side of the court, Merchant Marine hit one-of-two free throws to tie the score back up, 73-73, with 35 seconds left. Elizabethtown hit a jumper with just five seconds to go to put them ahead by two, and on the ensuing possession, the Mariners were fouled with just 0.8 remaining, but only hit one-of-two free-throws and time ran out after the ball was rebounded.
Elizabethtown was led by freshman Dylan Krieger, who had 18 points off the bench, while junior Peter Harding added 15 and classmate Josh Eden contributed 12. Senior Tommy James matched Smith's output on the glass with seven boards to lead the Blue Jays.
The Mariners will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 23, when they travel to Washington, D.C. for a showdown with Catholic. Game-time is schedule for 2 p.m. at the Cardinals' DuFour Center. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available by clicking those links.
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