Mariners' Basketball fell in their final home game of the season to Merritt College on Friday 69-63. Center Joey Potts fouled out with 5:37 remaining in the second half and the Mariners managed just five points the rest of the way. Eric Mireri and Zamaria Odom both scored 13 for the Marin in the losing effort.
It was a tightly contested game through out as the first half saw the teams trade the lead back and forth. Marin led early before falling behind by four points midway through. They cut it three points at halftime as the Mariners trailed 33-30. Malik Ghiden and Zamaria Odom each scored seven in the first half with Alfonso Murrie contributing six of his own. Okitukunda led Merritt with eight points in the opening period.
Sophomore Chris Kress made his presence known in the second half, after knocking down one three pointer early in the game, he hit two additional threes to open the second half, giving Marin a 42-40 lead with 14:13 remaining. The Mariners built their lead to 58-52 before Potts was whistled for a touch foul in transition.
Potts earned a technical earlier in the half for a thunderous dunk celebration, but that foul made a big difference down the stretch. The ensuing possessions saw Merritt rally to tie the game up at 58-58 with just under three minutes left on the clock.
The Thunderbirds took a 63-58 lead with under a minute left. Eric Mireri awoke to nail a three pointer to bring Marin within two points but Merritt beat the press to score a layup with under 30 seconds left. Mireri made a twisting jumper to make it 65-63 with 22 second left. The Mariners were forced to foul and Merritt made four free throws in the final minutes to seal the 69-63 final score.
Mireri and Odom both shouldered the load for Marin. Odom in the first half, while Mireri scored all 13 of his points in the second stanza. Kress had three made triples for nine points in the game while Joey Potts had Ghiden each had seven. Barber and Bland both scored 17 for Merritt.
The loss evened the Mariners' season record at 13-13 and 9-6 in the Bay Valley Conference. They are currently in fourth place but could jump up to second with the final week of games ahead. They travel to the College of Alameda on Friday, February 22 for the last game of their regular season.