NEW LONDON, Conn. (Dec. 8, 2019) – The USMMA men's basketball team was defeated by arch-rival Coast Guard, 80-69, on Sunday afternoon at the Bears' Roland Hall Gymnasium. The loss drops the Mariners' record to 3-4 on the season, while USCGA improves to 4-4 with the victory.
Junior James Walsh (Huntington, N.Y.) and sophomore Blaine McDonough (Marietta, Ga.) both produced double-digit scoring efforts, as Walsh led Merchant Marine with 16 points and McDonough drained 14 and tied for the team-high with sophomore Isaiah Nix (Yorktown, Va.) with five rebounds. Senior Connor Green (Flower Mound, Texas) added nine points and four steals, while classmate Mike Morsberger (Catonsville, Md.) contributed eight points and freshman Dante Spina (Miami, Fla.) led the Mariner bench with seven points.
The Mariners scored the first four points of the game and led for the opening five minutes of action before the Bears tied it up at 13-13 at 13:09. The hosts then went on a 13-3 run over the next six minutes to build up a double-digit advantage at 7:15. The Coast Guard lead reached as high as 17 points in the first half, and the Bears were up 42-26 into the half.
The second half started with a 6-0 run for the Mariners to cut the deficit down to just 10. Play was back-and-forth from there until USMMA made it a nine-point game, 49-40, at 14:25. That was the closest Merchant Marine would get the remainder of the game, however, as the Bears hit three-straight 3's as part of eight total from beyond the arch in the half and 15 three-pointers in the game.
The Mariners shot 52.9-percent from the field (27-for-51) compared to Coast Guard's 44.4-percent (28-for-63), however they were out-rebounded by the Bears, 38-26, and struggled to defend against the Coast Guard's shooting from downtown.
For the Bears, senior Packy Witkowski led all players in the game with 33 points, as he nailed an astounding nine 3's, while also bringing down six rebounds. Classmate Jason Frazer made five three-pointers and finished the day with 18 points. Fellow senior Noah Baldez added five points as well as a game-high eight rebounds and five assists. Freshman Madison Maloney added six points and six boards off the bench.
The Mariners are back in action this Thursday night, Dec. 12, when they travel to Skyline Conference South Division opponent Farmingdale State. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Rams' Lynch Sports Center. Live links for the game will be available on the USMMA Men's Basketball Schedule Page.
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