Sarris-Grau, Merlo leads McDaniel in year-ender

Louis Sarris-Grau  2011 David Sinclair/McDaniel College
Louis Sarris-Grau 2011 David Sinclair/McDaniel College

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – An 18-5 run over of the final 9:16 of the first half gave Christopher Newport a 21-point halftime lead en route to a 64-46 victory over McDaniel in the championship game of the 2011 Captains' Shootout in non-conference men's basketball action on Friday.

Louis Sarris-Grau (Huntingdon Valley, Pa./Lower Moreland) recorded 11 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season, leading the Green Terror (4-7) in the team's final non-conference game of the regular season. Freshman Andrew Merlo (Rehoboth, Del./Cape Henlopen) led the way in the scoring column with a  team- and career-best 12 points.

Conley Taylor, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, paced the Captains (8-3) with 19 points while Mike Cherry chipped in 10.

After a Cherry 3-pointer and Nik Biberaj layup staked Christopher Newport to a 5-0 lead in the game's first 1:16, Cullen Murray-Kemp (Trappe, Md./Easton) canned a triple nearly two minutes to get McDaniel on the scoreboard.

Evan Pupelis (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) sank the second of two free throws with 16:16 on the clock to draw the visitors within one before two Luc Atangana layups stretched the lead back to five 46 seconds later.

A Conley Taylor three-point play and Atangana pull-up jumper stretched the lead to 14-4 with 11:56 to play in the opening half.

Tyler Rudd (Glen Burnie, Md./Glen Burnie) snapped a 5-minute, 59-second scoring drought with a putback layup to make it a 14-6 game before Taylor countered with a pair of free throws at the other end to return the advantage to 10.

Nine straight Taylor points over a span of 2:09 stretched the lead from 10 to 29-10 with 3:54 remaining in the opening half, keying the game-clinching run.

The Captains took a 36-15 lead into the locker room, holding the Green Terror to its fewest points in a half since netting just 10 in the second half at Muhlenberg on Jan. 9, 2010. McDaniel shot just 5-for-26 in the first half while Christopher Newport hit 14 of his 25 attempts from the floor.

A Sarris-Grau three-point play closed the deficit to 39-23 with 15:54 to play but the Captains scored the game's next five points to stretch the lead back to 21 with 12:39 remaining and the Green Terror got no closer than 16 the rest of the way.

Murray-Kemp failed to reach double figures for the first time since the opener, finishing with seven points and five rebounds but earning a spot on the all-tournament team.

McDaniel returns to action and Centennial Conference play at home against Muhlenberg on Saturday, Jan. 7. Game time is 3 p.m.