KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 27, 2016) – The USMMA men's basketball team defeated visiting Trinity College, 67-60, on Wednesday evening at the Liebertz Gymnasium. With the victory, the Mariners improve to 9-8 overall, while the Bantams, who are receiving votes in the D3Hoops.com National Top 25 Poll, fall to 14-5 and suffer their first loss in eight games..
Three Mariners scored in double-figures on the night. Senior David Smith (Lakewood, Wash.) led all players in the game with 17 points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. Classmates Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, Kan.) and Scott Dennin (Gilbertsville, Pa.) added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Junior George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, N.Y.) chipped in with nine to lead all bench players.
No player scored more than eight points for Trinity, as seniors Jaquann Starks and Shay Ajayi and freshman Jeremy Arthur all reached the team-lead. Junior Ed Ogundeko brought down a team-best eight boards. The Mariners held the Bantams to just 29.3-percent shooting on the night (17-for-58).
Trinity led the game just twice early on for a combined 1:06. Merchant Marine kept its early advantage at six or seven points for most of the opening 10 minutes of the game. The Bantams fought back to within two points, however, at 9:29, but the Mariners responded with an explosive 15-2 run to take a 31-16 lead at 5:07. During that stretch, USMMA hit six straight shots from the field and one free throw. Despite some fightback from Trinity, the home lead remained 15 (38-23) into the halftime break.
The Mariners came out strong to start the second half and pushed their advantage up to as high as 25 points with 8:34 remaining. With the lead sitting at 20 points, 65-45, with just 2:08 to play, the Bantams rattled off a 13-0 run to come within just seven points, 65-58, with 26 ticks remaining. USMMA hit a free throw to go up by eight, but Trinity responded with a three-point play the other way. Time was on Merchant Marine's side, however, and they held on for the big victory.
Up next, the Mariners will host Landmark opponent Goucher as part of a doubleheader with the women's team this Saturday, Jan. 30. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Liebertz Gymnasium. Prior to the contest, the Mariners will pay tribute to their graduating seniors with a special Senior Day Ceremony. Live Stats and a live video feed of the game will be available by following those links.
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