Video: Final Buzzer & Court Rush
KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 7, 2016) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy men's basketball team defeated visiting Coast Guard in its Superintendents' Trophy rivalry matchup on Wednesday night at the Liebertz Gym by the final score of 50-47. The Mariners improve to 2-7 on the season, while the Bears fall to 3-4 in defeat.
Senior Matt Miller (Augusta, Ga.), who was honored prior to tipoff for reaching the 1,000-point plateau earlier this season, led all players in the game with 20 points. Freshman Connor Green (Flower Mound, Texas) contributed nine points and junior Robbie Kennedy (Spring Lake, N.J.) added seven off the bench, including two big free throws with just under three seconds remaining in the second that put USMMA ahead by three.
Junior Christian Wittenford (Granger, Ind.) brought down a team-high seven rebounds and scored five points. Senior Hunter Jones (Goodyear, Ariz.) and sophomore David Washington (Frisco, Texas) both chipped in with four points and junior Stephen Hinton (Warrenton, Va.) rounded out the Mariner scorers with one point. Washington and Hinton both recorded six boards apiece.
The first half was very back and forth. There were a total of 10 lead changes in the first 20 minutes. Neither team had much success shooting in the opening minutes, as the score was just 9-5 in favor of Coast Guard at the midway point.
The two teams picked it up in the final 10 minutes of the first half, however, with Merchant Marine eventually pulling within one of the Bears, 12-11, at 8:26 and then taking the lead shortly after on a jumper in the paint by Washington. After three lead changes in the next two minutes, Miller nailed a three that put the Mariners ahead, 18-16, at 6:02. Kennedy extended the advantage to four, 20-16, at 4:29, but Coast Guard went on a 5-0 run to take the lead back, 21-20, at 2:34.
Each team swapped leads in the last two minutes and the score was tied at 24-24 at the halftime break.
After a three-pointer by the visitors to start the second half, the Mariners scored the next five points to take a 29-27 lead at 17:41. Once again, the teams struggled from the field, as the next point wasn't scored until 12:12, on a free-throw by Hinton, and the next basket wasn't scored until 10:47, when Wittendorf hit a jumper to give USMMA its largest lead of the night, 32-27. Coast Guard scored the next four points, and then the Mariners responded with four straight of their own, but the Bears hit two straight jumpers and a three-pointer to take a 38-36 lead at 7:11.
Miller hit another three-pointer just 30 seconds later to put Merchant Marine ahead, 39-38, and the Mariners held the lead for the next three-plus minutes until the Bears went ahead at 3:23. USMMA then went ahead by three in the next minute and a half, but Coast Guard regained a lead with 58 seconds left, 47-45. However, the Mariners came back within one point on a free throw by Kennedy. Then, after a missed front half of a one-and-one by the Bears, Miller was fouled with 16 ticks left and nailed both shots to give the Mariners a 48-47 lead.
After Coast Guard missed a potential go-ahead jumper with under three seconds, Kennedy was fouled and went to the line to extend the Mariner lead to three, 50-47. On the in-bound play, junior Micah Baldez took the ball past mid-court for the Bears and heaved up a three-pointer that hit off the rim and bounced away to clinch the victory for USMMA.
For Coast Guard, freshman Max Lampe scored a team-high 12 points off the bench, while Baldez added nine points with a game-high nine rebounds and six assists.
After a free weekend, Merchant Marine returns to the hardwood for a Skyline Conference game against Yeshiva on Monday night, Dec. 12. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Liebertz Gymnasium. Live stats and a live video stream for of the game are available with links on the USMMA Men's Basketball Schedule Page.
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