Bears Fall at Rival Conn. 96-87

Bears Fall at Rival Conn. 96-87
NEW LONDON, Conn.—Senior Matt Vadas had 22 of his game-high 30 points leading Connecticut College to a 96-87 win over visiting Coast Guard in the battle of the two New London schools.

Vadas, who had four 3-pointers in the second half and six in the game, put the Camels on his back during a stretch of just over six minutes in the second half when he scored 17 of his teams 21 points, including four treys as the Camels opened up a 78-63 lead with 7:20 left in the game.

He finished 5 of 7 from behind the arc while making 11 of 12 from the foul line to lead the Camels, who were 30 of 37 from the free throw stripe.

The Camels scored the last five points of the first half and the first six points of the second half turning a 43-43 tie into a 54-43 lead with 16:54 left.

Coast Guard junior David Anderson's 3-point play with 13:49 left made the score 59-52 right before Vadas took the game over. He knocked down a pair of treys 34 seconds apart and he would score 17 of the Camels next 21 points as the Camels pushed the lead to 15 at 78-63.

The Bears would respond with nine of the next 11 points cutting the deficit to 80-72 with 5:36 remaining before Vadas added a free throw and later a bucket for an 83-72 lead with 4:32 left in the game.

Sophomore Ricky Rodriguez gave the Bears as he hit a 3-pointer then followed with a steal and layup cutting the deficit to 84-78 with 2:58 left, but that was as close as the Bears would get.

Coast Guard playing the second of five straight road games dropped to 2-8 with the loss while the Camels improved to 6-4 with the win. It was the second win of the season for Conn. College against the Bears as Conn. College won 77-65 at the Coast Guard Academy on Dec. 8th in the championship game of the Citizens Bank Tournament.

Sophomore Kevin Alvarez had a career-high 16 points off the bench on 8 of 10 shooting from the field to lead five players in double figures for the Bears. Sophomore Avierre Conner tied his career-high with 14 points also off the bench and dished out a career-high six assists while Rodriguez tied his season-high with 14 points while grabbing a team-high five rebounds.

Anderson and senior John Benedict each finished with 13 points in the loss for Coast Guard.

Coast Guard shot 49.2 percent from the field (31-63) while making eight of 27 from 3-point range while the Camels shot 53.1 percent from the floor (26-49) and were even better from behind the arc hitting 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) as they scored a season-high 87 points.

Conn. jumped out quickly taking a 20-5 lead in the first five minutes as the Camels made seven of their first ten field goal attempts.

Alvarez scored six straight to cap and 11-2 run as the Bears pulled to within 22-16 with 11:41 left in the opening half.

Freshman Colin Pascoe knocked down a pair of free throws to give Conn. College a 40-29 lead with 4:13 left in the half before the Bears used a 14-3 run to tie the game 43-43 on a free throw by Conner with 1:19 left in the first half.

The Camels scored the final five points of the half on a 3-pointer by senior Rob Harrigan and a dunk by freshman Zuri Pavlin in the closing seconds for a 48-43 lead at halftime.

Coast Guard was able to climb back in the game by shooting 50 percent from the floor (14-28) while hitting  6 of 13 from 3-point range and turning the ball over just once.

The Camels were 15 of 26 from the floor in the opening half (57.7) while shooting an even better 63.6 percent from 3-point range (7-11).

"I was disappointed the way we came out falling behind 20-5 in the first five minutes, but from that point on we did a really good job and stepped up to the challenge and battled back with all the tough shots they made, we were down six with the ball with under three minutes left so there were a lot of opportunities there for us," said Coast Guard head coach Kevin Jaskiewicz.

"Kevin Alvarez and Avierre Conner were both really efficient off the bench for us tonight as they combined for 30 points and both of them have been practicing very hard so I was not surprised at how well they played tonight. I really liked the way our guys competed tonight with five guys in double figures  and only turned the ball over five times, it was a good performance," added Jaskiewicz.

Coast Guard is back in action on Wednesday night in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener at Wheaton at 7 p.m.