NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (Dec. 18, 2018) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy men's basketball team earned an impressive come-from-behind 75-72 victory over the College of New Rochelle up in Westchester County on Tuesday night at the Blue Angels' Wellness Center. With the non-conference victory, the Mariners improve to 2-7 on the season, while CNR falls to 6-5 in defeat.
USMMA led by one point, 30-29, after a fast-paced first half, but the Mariners found themselves trailing by as many as 18 points with just over 12 minutes to play in the second. However, senior David Washington (Frisco, Texas) registered 16 of his career-high 26 points over the final 12 minutes to help lead the Mariners to the exciting victory.
CNR junior Hunter Schenkel, who led all players with 35 points, hit a three-pointer at 12:32 of the second to give the host Blue Angels their largest lead of the night, 55-37. From there, however, Merchant Marine exploded for a 20-4 run over the next six minutes to cut the deficit down to just two points, 59-57, at 6:17 after a layup by Washington.
New Rochelle went back ahead by six points after a 6-2, run, but once again the Mariners responded by cutting their deficit back to just two, twice late in the half, before eventually tying it at 67-67, with 1:52 to play on another layup by Washington.
After grabbing down a board on the defensive end, Washington ran the full length of the court in transition and received a pass from junior Connor Green (Flower Mound, Texas) and converted another layup to put USMMA ahead, 69-67, with just 1:10 to play, forcing CNR to call a timeout.
The Mariners never relinquished the lead, and after a few back-and-forth possessions, Green gave Merchant Marine some distance with a layup and two-straight free throws to put the guests ahead 73-69 with just six seconds left.
Schenkel hit yet another three with just 1.4 seconds left, and the Blue Angels quickly fouled to put Green back on the line again with just 0.7 seconds left. The junior drained both freebies once again to make it a three-point game. A desperation half-court shot at the buzzer for New Rochelle sailed under the hoop and the Mariners held on for the victory.
In addition to the team-best 26 points for Washington, the senior also recorded a game-high nine rebounds and tied his career-high with six blocks. Three other Mariners scored in double-figures on the night, as Green finished with 13 points to go along with a team-high four assists, freshman Blaine McDonough (Marietta, Ga.) registered 11 points and sophomore Seth Barnes (Chillicothe, Ohio) added 10.
Rounding out the USMMA scorers were sophomore James Walsh (Huntington, N.Y.) with seven, freshman Jack Bucher (Carlisle, Pa.) with four, and classmate Matt Cooper (Hartsdale, N.Y.) and junior Mike Morsberger (Catonsville, Md.) with two points each.
Merchant Marine shot an impressive 49.2% on the night (29-for-59) and were also 12-for-14 from the charity stripe. The Mariners out-rebounded CNR, 40-31, on the evening and also dominated the points in the paint, 42-24.
For the Blue Angels, Schenkel led the way with a career-best 35 points, with 21 of them coming on seven three-pointers. Schenkel also had a team-high six rebounds, while junior Kobe Telford added nine points off the bench and classmate Elijah Harris dished out a game-best nine assists.
The Mariners have concluded the 2018 portion of their schedule and will return to action in the New Year when they host Skyline rival SUNY Maritime on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 2 p.m. at the Liebertz Gymnasium. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available with links on the USMMA Men's Basketball Schedule Page.
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