NEW LONDON, Conn. – Sophomore Austin Coene had a game-high 22 points to go with eight rebounds and the Hawks used a 10-0 second half run leading Roger Williams to a 77-69 win over Coast Guard in the season opener for both teams.
Junior Nick Marini and senior Josh Syska each added 17 points in the win while Marini added a game-high six assists and two steals for the Hawks.
Freshman Justin Kane led Coast Guard a double-double in the first game of his collegiate career as he finished with 20 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. He had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.
Sophomore Nolan Benson made a pair of free throws with 3:42 left in the first as Coast Guard took its largest lead of the game 32-26. The Hawks would score the final four points of the half and trailed 32-30 at the break.
Sophomore Jake Heaton's 3-pointer capped a 6-0 run as Roger Williams took the lead for good turning a 45-45 tie into a 51-45 lead with 11:07 left.
Following an old fashion 3-point play by junior Micah Baldez cutting the deficit to 51-48 with 10:58 left, junior Jaylen Jennings would score eight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers in a 10-0 run for Roger Williams as the Hawks took control leading 61-48 with 8:06 left. Jennings finished with 13 points off the bench.
The Bears would respond with seven straight cutting the deficit to 61-55 following a 3-pointer by Kane with 6:58 left. However, the Hawks answered right back with seven straight of their own pushing the lead to 68-55 with 5:38 remaining.
Coast Guard would get as close as six at 73-67 on a layup by sophomore Nolan Benson.
Baldez finished with 16 points while Benson tied his career-high with 10 points for Coast Guard. Freshman Pat Witkowski grabbed nine rebounds in his collegiate debut.
Roger Williams shot 40.6 percent in the win (28-69) including 7 of 19 from 3-point range while Coast Guard was 24 of 66 from the floor (36.4 percent) hitting 8 of 28 from behind the arc.
Coast Guard held a slight 45-42 rebounding advantage.
The Bears are back in action on Saturday night when they host Yeshiva in the first round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Tournament at 8:30 p.m.
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