Wright's 27 Leads Mustangs to Buffalo Wild Wings Classic Title

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Tournament MVP Danzel Wright finished with 27 points as the Stevenson University men's basketball team captured the 2017 Buffalo Wild Wings Classic with a 75-68 win over Merchant Marine Saturday afternoon at Owings Mills Gymnasium.  The win was the fourth straight for the Mustangs.

Wright averaged 25.0 points in two tournament games and finished 7-14 from the floor, 5-10 from behind the arc and 8-10 at the free throw line.  He led four players in double figures for Stevenson (9-4) on Saturday.  Junior Jaylin Johnson totaled 19 points on 5-8 shooting (3-4 3PT FG), while sophomore Mark Terrell tallied 11 points and five rebounds off the bench, going 5-6 from the floor.  Junior Marcus Dentley recorded his second straight double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Merchant Marine (5-4) was led by Seth Barnes, who was 8-16 from the floor and notched 20 points.  Eric Sobocinski (15) and James Walsh (11) also finished in double figures for the Mariners.  Barnes and Walsh were selected to the All-Tournament Team.

After trailing 35-22 at intermission, Merchant Marine outscored Stevenson 15-5 over the first five-plus minutes of the second half to pull within three, 40-37, on a David Washington dunk.  A pair of Johnson free throws at the 13:33 mark stopped the Mariner run, but another 7-1 spurt put Merchant Marine on top, 44-43, on a Jesse Neloms basket with 12:17 left.

The guests extended the lead to three on another Neloms basket, but a Wright three at the 10:47 mark put the Mustangs back on top, 48-46.  The lead traded hands two more times before a 10-0 Stevenson run capped by a Terrell free throw put the hosts on top, 60-51, with just over four minutes to go, as the Mustangs held Merchant Marine scoreless for over four minutes.

A layup by Washington snapped the Mariner drought at 3:40, but on the other end, a Johnson three pushed the lead back to 10, 63-53, with 3:10 left.  A pair of free throws by Wright 24 seconds later gave the hosts a 12-point cushion, 65-53.  Merchant Marine did work the lead down to four with 13 seconds left on a three by Jesse Neloms, but a pair of Johnson free throws on Stevenson's next possession all but sealed the win.

An early 10-0 Stevenson run capped by a basket by Terrell put the hosts up 14-7 at the 12:29 mark.  The Mustangs extended the lead to nine at the 6:20 mark before a 6-1 spurt by Merchant Marine pulled it within four, 24-20, on a Barnes basket with just over four minutes left before halftime.  Stevenson closed the half on an 11-2 run that included a pair of threes by Wright and a three at the buzzer by Johnson to take a 35-22 halftime lead.

Stevenson outrebounded Merchant Marine 36-26 and shot 47% from the floor and 44.4% (8-18) from three, while the Mariners were 45% from the floor and 10-25 behind the arc.  The Mustangs took 24 more free throws, going 19-29, while USMMA was 4-5 at the charity stripe, and the hosts had a 19-8 lead in second chance points.

Stevenson returns to MAC Commonwealth play Wednesday night when it hosts Messiah College in a 6:00 contest at Owings Mills Gymnasium.