HUNTINGDON, Pa. (Feb. 13, 2016) – It didn't take long for USMMA senior David Smith (Lakewood, Wash.) to notch his first basket on Saturday and become the 27th Mariner in program history to score 1,000 points. In typical fashion for the forward, he nailed a three-pointer just under two minutes into the Landmark Conference road game at Juniata. Smith finished the day with 13 points, but it wasn't enough as the Eagles earned an 86-69 victory. The loss drops the Mariners to 11-11 (6-7 Landmark), while Juniata improves to 15-8 (8-6 Landmark).
Senior Preston Padgett (Leavenworth, Kan.) led Merchant Marine with 20 points. Also joining Smith and Padgett with double-figures in scoring was junior Matt Miller (Augusta, Ga.), who drained 10. Off the bench, junior George Hatzioannides (Oakland Gardens, N.Y.) contributed nine points and a team-high five rebounds.
The Mariners led for just over 13 minutes in the opening half, seeing their advantage grow to as many as six points on two separate occasions. Smith's milestone three-pointer at 18:03 put the visitors ahead 8-2 as part of a strong start. Then again at 12:55, Padgett hit a layup to make the lead six, 17-11. The Eagles responded with a 12-4 run to take a 23-21 lead at 10:07.
USMMA came back with a quick 6-2 run to go back head by three, 28-25 at 7:24, but Juniata powered down the stretch to take a six point lead into the locker room at halftime, 41-35.
The first two buckets went to the hosts in the second half, as they extended their lead to double-digits, 45-35. After two free throws by Hatzioannides, the Eagles burst for nine straight points to take a big 54-37 lead. Despite fighting back to within 10 points, 66-56 with 6:31 to play, the deficit was too much for the Mariners to overcome and the Eagles hit 16-of-18 free throws in the final five minutes to maintain their advantage.
Sophomore Marcus Lee scored 26 points to lead five Eagles in double-figures. Sophomore Seth Brewer added 13 points, senior Nate Ogle had 12 and senior Kyle Koehler and sophomore Damon Rickens both tallied 10 points each. Koehler also brought down a team-best eight boards.
Up next, the Mariners will travel to Bethlehem, Pa, this Monday, Feb. 15, for a conference contest at Moravian College. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Greyhounds' Johnston Hall. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available by following those links.
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