NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Coast Guard Academy men's basketball team used a strong second half to post an 80-68 victory against cross-town rival Mitchell College on Wednesday night in non-conference action at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Freshman Patrick Witkowski scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the second half to lead five Coast Guard players in double figures. Freshman Justin Kane added 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second double-double of the season while freshman Noah Baldez came off the bench to supply 13 points and four blocks. Junior Micah Baldez and sophomore Nolan Benson contributed 10 points apiece while the former handed out eight assists.
Junior Alan Morgan paced Mitchell with 14 points and six assists. Junior Brayvon Young chipped in with 12 points while sophomore Domenico Santiago added eight points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
The Mariners held a 39-38 lead after a first half that featured six lead changes and eight ties. Neither side led by more than seven in the stanza, with Coast Guard owning the largest lead at 33-26 with 5:51 to go. Mitchell responded with a 7-0 run over the next 1:32 to tie things up, and the teams traded baskets in the final minutes before intermission.
Mitchell held the lead for the opening seven minutes of the second half, pumping the margin to as many as six before Coast Guard rallied back. The Bears took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Witkowski with 9:54 remaining in the game, a basket that sparked a 10-2 run in favor of the visitors and left them with a seven-point advantage.
The Bears shot 39.4% (26-66) from the floor and made 9-29 (31%) from beyond the arc. Coast Guard finished with a 48-43 advantage on the glass and outscored the Mariners 19-4 at the free throw line.
Mitchell was 29-74 (39.2%) overall and shot 31.6% (6-19) from three. The Mariners held an advantage in the paint outscoring the bears 36-26 and a slim margin in bench points, 19-18.
Coast Guard returns to action at home against Connecticut College on Saturday at 2 p.m